What would Mr. Ed have to say about these things? | George Le Masurier photo
The Week: North Island health care privatization marches on
Good Morning. Whether you woke up in one of the worst cities for business and dangerous for crime … supposedly (Courtenay), one of the worst for recognizing heritage (Comox, for sure) or the only community that has banned plastic bags (Cumberland), it’s looks like another great day to live in the Comox Valley.
But first, let’s praise the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital Board for finally standing up to Island Health’s steady march toward privatization of health care.
Stop health care privatization
Decafnation has documented the folly of public private partnerships (known as P3s) in health care by the problems that policy has caused at the Comox Valley Hospital. But Island Health loves to hand over essential health care services to private contractors, and this time they’re aiming at the North Island’s last remaining pathology laboratory.
Island Health wants to close down clinical pathology services at the Campbell River Hospital and outsource them to a private corporation in Victoria. Clinical pathology services at the Comox Valley Hospital will continue into next year, but only as part of an agreement when St. Joe’s Hospital closed. There is no guarantee Island Health won’t try to close them when the agreement terminates.
The real story goes back to the formation of the Victoria pathologists’ corporation (VICPCC). Prior to that, all Island Health pathologists were employees (a few may have incorporated as separate individuals).
Some Victoria-based pathologists own this corporation together, and many of the rest of the island pathologists (except Campbell River, for now) are partially or fully employed or contracted by the corporation.
Information about the corporation and details of its contract with Island Health are not readily available. A Campbell River reporter tried to get this information, but Island Health abruptly cancelled a scheduled interview and has stonewalled him ever since.
Our sources estimate that VICPCC’s contract with Island Health would probably be worth nearly $10 million per year.
It isn’t right that such a huge amount of public health care money is going to such an opaque entity that apparently decides where and how to deliver services to north Island residents.
When it comes to health care services, non-Victoria areas always seem to lose out in favour of centralization to the capital city. Island Health usually claims this provides “higher quality” services, but they never share any evidence to support that assertion.
Courtenay business woes?
The politically conservative Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses looked through some data at its Toronto headquarters and decided the City of Courtenay is bad for business.
No one visited Courtenay, talked to any business owners or elected officials or business organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce. They used data.
This is not unlike how Maclean’s magazine decided last year that Courtenay was one of the most dangerous places to live in Canada.
These data-based surveys are baloney. They’re designed as marketing devices to boost subscriptions or memberships in an organization. Naive local media pick them up because it’s a spoon-fed story.
People should stop reading them, writing about them and giving them any attention.
Heritage interference by AG?
Has there been some hanky-panky going on at the BC Attorney General’s office about the Mack Laing Trust?
When some Shakesides supporters started investigating a pathway to heritage designation that doesn’t require any input from the local government, apparently alarms bells went off at the BC Attorney General’s office. The AG has supported the town’s petition to demolish the house.
And that caused a high-ranking Heritage Branch official to say he could not give information to the local citizens because the AG’s office had allegedly told the branch not to discuss Mack Laing with anybody. In other words, a gag order.
This sounds clearly like a backdoor attempt to thwart a legitimate citizen initiative. Obviously, the AG doesn’t want Shakesides to get a heritage designation because that could help sink their leaky argument to tear the building down.
But how is it ethical for the Attorney General’s office, which is supposed to defend public trusts, to pressure another BC government branch into deny a citizen’s access to information?
Earth Day v. Plastic Bags
We’re celebrating Earth Day on April 22 this year, which would be a great time for Courtenay and Comox to announce that they are following Cumberland’s lead and ban single-use plastic bags.
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Faith-based volunteers can contribute positively to the educational experience in our public schools but everyone must be perfectly clear about who they are, what they can and cannot do and school administrators must monitor their activity closely and consistently
A Comox Valley developer is suing the Town of Comox because his permits to cut down trees and build more single-family homes haven’t been issued as fast as he’s wanted and because the town wants a wider walking trail through the property
Another Comox Councillor was fined by Elections BC for violating BC elections laws, plus Parksville’s water supply is unable to meet provincial requirements for summer water flow in the Englishman River let alone provide water for a proposed 800-unit development
A serious fall drought has reduced flows in the Puntledge River, shutting down hydroelectric power generation for the first time in 55 years. Meanwhile, many states eye sending treated wastewater to kitchen taps
Making it easier for citizens to speak directly to municipal councils might increase public interest in local government, which in turn might encourage more registered voters to actually cast a ballot
Cumberland and Comox municipal councils approve their mayor’s annual appointments, but Courtenay was a no show at its inaugural meeting. Is there conflict behind the scenes?
Dr. Jonathan Kerr topped the polls with voters, but will that resonate at the Comox Town Council as it is poised to approve new Mayor Nicole Minions’ appointments and assignments?
Despite the long drought this summer, Comox Valley water system supplies have not been threatened; the BC Wildfire Service has banned fireworks this year and clarifying Daniel Arbour’s place of residence
It was weird. But when the sun rose on Oct. 16, Comox Valley voters had made it clear they liked the direction charted by our local governments. In the municipalities, they elected all but two incumbents. In most races, the vote was a definite pat on the back for a job well done.
Long-time public official Bronco Moncrief dies, Manno Theos hangs out in Greece, and Daniel Arbour reacts to lies about his campaign finances