Delegates attending an annual convention of northern local governments last week in Fort St. John passed a District of Houston resolution calling on the provincial government to improve health care services for rural British Columbians.
The resolution was one of 32 considered by delegates to the North Central Local Government Association when it met May 4-5 and will now be forwarded for discussion at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention this September in Whistler.
The resolution keys off of the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that it “exposed the lack of health care resources in rural British Columbia and resulted in many individuals being forced to leave their community for further evaluation and treatment.”
It adds that “accessible, reliable and effective local medical services should be available to all British Columbians, especially during significant illness events that impact the majority of residents.”
Should the resolution meet with acceptance this fall, it will be added to a list of issues and requests on the part of the Union of BC Municipalities when it meets with provincial health officials.
This was the first in-person gathering of northern local elected government representatives since the pandemic.
Other resolutions from northern local governments submitted at the convention included:
– asking BC Housing to provide incentives to increase affordable housing in rural and remote communities.
– having the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia consider providing subsidies for winter tires and to eliminate the deductible motorists now pay to replace windshields
– subsidize the training of 40 veterinary students to overcome a critical shortage of vets in B.C.
– to keep the current number of Members of the Legislative Assembly from the north, something that’s now the subject of an electoral boundaries commission.
More than 40 local governments from 100 Mile House to the Yukon border and from Haida Gwaii to the Alberta border are associated with the North Central Local Government Association.
It is one of five regional local government associations gathered together under the province-wide Union of B.C. Municipalities.
The key note speaker for the convention was former Member of Parliament and former federal Liberal cabinet minister Judy Wilson-Raybould. She resigned from her role as justice minister in the first Justin Trudeau government, saying she was being lobbied heavily by the Prime Minister’s office to provide SNC-Lavalin with a deferred prosecution agreement instead of criminal charges alleging bribery and fraud in connection with contracts in Libya.