Tuesday November 2, 2021 | LANGFORD, BC
Editorial analysis by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Editor | Island Social Trends
Caring that the province’s premier John Horgan does well with his current health challenges is no doubt widely felt across BC.
But his comments on October 28, upon announcing his time away from the job to undergo a biopsy of a lump in his throat and then a determined treatment, have drawn a public response about the availability of health care.
A series of letters were published in the Victoria-based Times Colonist today, piping up about the lack of access to family doctors and to health-care in many situations, and noting how promptly Horgan is accessing high-quality care.
What seemed to rankle people in Horgan’s remarks last week was this: “For those of you out there who might have concerns about this or that, don’t wait, see a doctor.”
He added: “Urgent Primary Care Centres are there for this very reason. Everyone can have complete confidence, despite an extraordinary 21 months of a global pandemic.”
Horgan also pitched, in the context of some public push-back against health-care workers during the vaccination-phase of the pandemic: “Health-care workers are professional, kind, caring, compassionate and they deserve our support.”
As Premier and as head of the Executive Council (provincial cabinet), Horgan is needed to be on the job — a highly demanding and stressful job, it should be noted. In such times, most people realize that it’s reasonable that John Horgan’s well-being be prioritized, as awkward as that might seem politically.
Fighting for long-term health-care:
Meanwhile, there is no one more in the camp of every British Columbian than providing the best possible health-care to every resident.
Not only has he fully backed Health Minister Adrian Dix in the creation of Urgent Primary Care Centers in many locations around BC over the past few years (to try and deal with the doctor shortage), Horgan is also chair of the Council of the Confederation is leading all 13 premiers of the provinces and territories in a process of restoring the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) to 35% (from 22%).
The lift from 22% to 35% is a way to bolster the ability of provinces and territories to provide the health care services that they are obligated to deliver. The lift is expected to be achieved by enacting a minimum annual escalator of 5% until 35% is reached.
Horgan said during his own health announcement that the increase in the Canada Health Transfer is to ensure that health-care is adequately funded at the federal level: “So we don’t just sustain health care in BC and in Canada, but we make it better for the future. It is what defines us as a society, it separates us from our cousins to the south.”
Meeting with the Prime Minister:
“Public health care needs an infusion,” said Horgan last week. “I’ve raised this with the prime minister, and I’m looking forward to meeting with him in December to discuss the Canada Health Transfer, which is what sustains our system and it needs a rejuvenation. I’m standing ready to take on that task,” said BC’s Premier.
Recently, on September 23, Canada’s Premiers reaffirmed health care sustainability as their top priority and press for a meeting of First Ministers at the earliest opportunity, in fact, before the end of this year.
While Premier Horgan is offline for health reasons, Mike Farnworth is serving as Deputy Premier. An MLA for 30 years, Farnworth is the House Leader, and is BC’s Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General.