Cariboo-Chilcotin candidates on health care and environment

The fourth set of questions the Tribune asked the candidates running in the provincial election:

  • May. 8, 2013 7:00 a.m.

The fourth set of questions the Tribune asked the candidates running in the provincial election is about their stance on health care, environment, fisheries and jobs as follows:

What would your government do to improve access to health care in B.C.?

Answers are as follows:

Donna Barnett, Liberal Party (incumbent), Cariboo-Chilcotin

Technology has given greater access to Health care.

Electronic access to medical records, tele-conferencing and Tele-health make it easier for doctors and patients in rural areas.

Government has doubled the number of first-year undergraduate spaces for medical students from 128 in 2003/04 to 288 in 2011/12.

Investments in UBC have increased the number of graduating MD’s from 123 in 2000 to 256 in 2011/12.

We have attracted doctors from other provinces and countries. We have provided funding for 70 nurse practitioners.

The UNBC medical program will continue to grow and provide doctors to rural B.C. Incentives for rural doctors are provided by province and health authorities and local governments.

Health care is a high priority for all of us and working continually with all stakeholders will continue to provide access for all to health care.

We are making investments in rural emergency rooms, including dedicating funding to both Cariboo Memorial Hospital and Health Centres for rural, fee-for-service physicians who commit to ensure reliable public access to emergency services is maintained at the local hospital.

Charlie Wyse, New Democratic Party, Cariboo-Chilcotin

New Democrats will reverse the trend towards decreasing services in rural communities through a Rural Acute Care Initiative that will rebuild services in regional hospitals and by investing in rural health care clinics.

Our $70 million commitment to improve access to home support and long-term care for seniors will benefit seniors in communities across the province.

We have also pledged $35 million to show our respect for seniors by improving the quality of long-term care.

Dustin Price, Green Party, Cariboo-Chilcotin

Jurisdictions across the developed world have adopted the Triple Aim, which the BC Green Party supports.

Its goals are to improve population health and reduce health inequities; to improve the patient experience and the quality of care; and to reduce healthcare costs. Currently, $17.4 billion of British Columbia’s annual budget is dedicated to health care, almost half our total budget.

We would review the bureaucracies involved in the health system and help ensure the most efficient practices are being used.

Furthermore, the BC Green Party would not only focus on primary health care through a community-based model, we would also look at preventative health measures to help ensure a healthy society through sports funding and education.

The BC Greens believe a new approach to health care is needed; one that will see the governance changed from five Regional Health Authorities to 14 Regional Health Trusts. This would ensure a more community and individual based system to healthcare access.

Gary Young, Independent, Cariboo-Chilcotin

Improving access to health care would need more doctors residing in our rural areas.

Unfortunately the B.C. government has blocked admissions of Canadian doctors to our system.

When not being able to get training from our over-subscribed colleges here, doctors often get standard or better training in other countries and are then labelled with an IMG label, International Medical Graduate and are held up for applying here because of it.

There is difficulty in attracting medical professionals when they can get urban positions.

ENVIRONMENT

Donna Barnett, Liberal Party (incumbent), Cariboo-Chilcotin

• Enbridge: the province has five conditions to meet and the project is currently under review by the Federal Government.

• Kitimat refinery: this is an interesting concept and private sector initiative, and is tied into the pipeline proposal of Enbridge. So many hurdles. The five conditions for the pipeline will determine the outcome.

• Run of river: under the Clean Energy Act at least 66 per cent of the new demand for power will be met through conservation and the rest through pursing new technology. BC Hydro has been purchasing power from independent power producers and renewable power companies since 1988/1989.

Prior to 2001 BC Hydro had electricity purchase agreements with 25 projects either in operation or in process. IPP’s now provide approximately 15 per cent of B.C.’s total domestic electricity requirements.

Charlie Wyse, New Democratic Party, Cariboo-Chilcotin

• Unlike the Liberals, New Democrats have made it clear where we stand on the Enbridge pipeline. Within seven days of being elected a New Democrat government will cancel the agreement that the Liberals signed with the federal government which gives them the final decision in the process.

We believe that a project like this, which has the potential to fundamentally change the province forever, needs to go through a made-in-B.C. process where British Columbians get the final say.

• Any proposal with the potential to create value-added jobs in British Columbia deserves a second look. However, so far there isn’t a lot of evidence that this idea will solidify into an actual proposal that’s ready for market. Until it does, we need to focus on forestry, agriculture and other industries that have been neglected by the B.C. Liberals that exist today.

• Done right, run of river projects can benefit communities and power up industry in remote areas of the province. Unfortunately, the Liberal government hasn’t followed this model of run of river development.

Instead of proceeding on a case-by-case basis to develop run of river projects where they benefit communities and First Nations, using the oversight of the BC Utilities Commission to ensure the projects were in the public interest, the Liberals have been signing contracts with vastly inflated power prices – power prices that all ratepayers are now on the hook for.

Dustin Price, Green Party, Cariboo-Chilcotin

• The BC Green Party does not support the Northern Gateway pipeline. The reliance on a single resource is dangerous and risky in the world economic market.

It has been proven that the entire project would lead to roughly 350 long-term direct jobs; this number in the greater scheme of things is miniscule.

The BC Green Party would transition to a diverse locally-based economic system focused on innovation and loans to small businesses and start-ups.

The green economy accounted for over five percent of the B.C. economy last year, over 120,000 direct jobs.

• The Kitimat refinery proposal is a prime example of private money partnering with a foreign power to develop our resources. Yes, this is a $25 billion dollar project, and yes it can create jobs. Yet, why is B.C. not being looked at as a viable partner where it can maintain a majority share in all development.

Look at Norway as a model for partnered resource development where the only way they incorporate foreign business in resource development is when they maintain a 51 per cent share.

Through this, Norway has maintained rigorous environmental standards, accumulated $600 billion dollars as a “rainy day” fund, and has social systems that dwarf B.C.’s.

• The BC Green Party sees all renewable and diverse energy projects, including run of river hydro projects, as viable options of fitting into the BC economy.

Gary Young, Independent, Cariboo-Chilcotin

• Enbridge oil pipeline … emphatically no. The risk is far too great and leaves only a polluted legacy. The spill form the Exon Valdes is not cleaned after 20 years.

Oil pipelines along our principle waterways are not a smart or effective method of shipping oil. I reiterate that B.C. should support the Xcel pipeline south from Alberta.

We can easily and effectively pipe our oil in the Albertan pipelines.

• David Black is a Liberal supporter. If the LNG plants are built for Kitimat watch for the subversive plan to twin the gas lines with oil pipeline.

Premier Clark told LNG proponents they could not use their own gas for LNG power but must buy it from Hydro .. a stealthy way of starting the unneeded Site C dam.

• The Run of River (IPP) projects fit into the economy by creating billions of dollars of debt with little upside. These projects dam pristine fish bearing creeks and have no consideration for spawning.

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