From The Leg — Doctor shortage, Throne Speech, ICBC

Linda Larson
By Linda Larson
March 2nd, 2020



I know the last two months have been unpredictable from a weather perspective. We have had moments of incredible volumes of snow in short periods of time only to see it disappear just as quickly and then a couple of weeks later repeat the process. Once again flooding in some areas is a possibility and I am meeting with the appropriate Ministries to ensure they have action plans where issues could arise.

The unpredictability of the intense snowstorms created challenges for our snow removal company, AIMS. Extreme challenges. Their first priority is always the major highways, rural bus routes and lastly, rural roads in general. And with the size of our area that rural road system is extremely large. All of your concerns expressed to my office through phone calls, emails and letters have been passed on to the Highways Ministry and they will follow up.

Another issue that has occurred affecting 700 patients in the South Okanagan is the loss of one of the Oliver Doctors as of April 1st. Despite months of trying to recruit a replacement there was no luck and patients were notified by letter.

I was one of those patients and after going to the same clinic for 30 years I was understandably shocked, at my age, to suddenly, be without a family doctor.

I have now gone through the online registration process with Interior Health and am on the waiting list for a new doctor along with everyone else affected by this change and everyone new who has moved to the South Okanagan.

The info for you to register was included in your notification letter. If you are having any difficulty in registering, please contact Patt in my office. Unfortunately, the doctor shortage is across the entire Province and not unique to the Okanagan and training new doctors is a long expensive process. Interior Health is developing a system of Primary Care Clinics that will provide a new way for people to access care by utilizing other Health Care Professionals such as Nurse Practitioners and Registered Nurses to provide care when appropriate.

The Legislature has resumed again in Victoria with the return of everyone to Victoria for the Spring Session. Unfortunately, the traditions we have come to depend on for stability in our Democracy are being undermined and challenged by groups of protestors who have no respect for the lives or livelihood of the rest of the people of BC. I have been in various positions politically for almost 18 years and this was first time I have been concerned for my safety.

Legislature Security is the responsibility of the Speaker. They were understaffed and unprepared for the protest even though it was a planned event. They did an exceptional job but help from the Victoria Police should have been requested sooner. My hope is that none of the people who work here at the Legislature will ever have to experience that kind of disrespect and threats to their safety ever again.

The Speech from the Throne was mostly a repeat of the Speech from the last two years. The Budget Speech also, did not address the need for targeted programs to support BC’s most important industries throughout the Province. I will convey any relevant details of the Budget to you as it gets sorted out.

Finally, a comment on ICBC. The proposed no fault insurance is not they answer to the problems being faced by ICBC and British Columbians. My Liberal Caucus has been advocating that more options should be made available for insurance in BC, not less, as the government has continued to raise the rates. It is true that a few of you have seen your rates go down but at the expense of our young drivers, and others, who have not had accidents but are being charged excessive rates, virtually making it impossible for them to afford insurance at all.

The changes proposed will not take effect until 2021 and any monies promised to come back to drivers will not compensate for the increases they will have paid between now and then. I know there are a lot of opinions about ICBC but I believe there should be more insurance options for the drivers of B.C.

Unfortunately, there is yet another insurance issue that I would like you to email me about. I understand that affordable options for Condo/Strata Insurance is becoming almost impossible to obtain. If you are part of a Strata that is experiencing a considerable jump in costs or having difficulty in even obtaining insurance, please let my office know by email and we will follow up..

Finally, I hope you participated in one of the many Family Day Events throughout the beautiful South Okanagan/ Boundary/Similkameen.

Happy Spring.

Linda Larson, MLA Boundary-Similkameen                                             

Categories: Op/EdPolitics