For almost four years Liberals have represented Surrey in the Legislature. During this time the health care crisis in the Fraser Health Authority and Surrey Memorial Hospital has gone from bad to urgent.
The Campbell Liberal government had ignored the crisis successfully until now. It took less than two weeks for rookie MLA, Jagrup Brar to spur the Liberals into damage control and action. Brar is the new NDP MLA from Surrey Panorama Ridge.
All along the Campbell led Liberals have tried to distance themselves from decisions made by the Health Authorities. When an issue was raised in the Legislature, the Liberal government would tell the opposition the health authority has the funding and the the freedom to spend the funds they receive to meet local priorities.
The Liberals had hoped this would get them off the hook with respect to health care in BC. It hasn't worked as health care has remained the top concern of BC voters in poll after poll.
The Health Authority told the government in November that a new emergency was desperately required for Surrey Memorial Hospital. The government ignored the information. There was no money in the the recent budget to fund construction of a new emergency room for what is Canada's second busiest ER.
The Liberal government under pressure in the legislature to address the urgent needs for a new emergency ward at Surrey Memorial responded by blaming the messenger of the November request for urgent funding. The Health Authority fired their CEO in an effort to look as if it was his leadership that failed to address the ongoing problems at Surrey Memorial.
Health Minister Shirley Bond has directed the Health Authority to spend $28 million asap in correcting the problem. That's a good start and should have been included in the budget. It wasn't. The health authority will do as the government demanded and use the $28 million but that is just a bandaid for the problem. The $28 million was earmarked for training and staffing the emergency wards in the Fraser Health Authority. Now it is gone, who will pay for the training and staffing needed? Don't look to the budget, the dollars are not in there.
The problem in Surrey Memorial is compounded seriously by the government's failure to deliver on their promise to build 5000 new care beds. In fact the government has created less than 200 care beds province wide. The Fraser, Vancouver Island and Interior health regions have all lost care beds since the Liberals were elected.
Broken promises seem to be the hallmark of this government. Broken promises lead to broken families, broken communities.