Some things just need to be said...

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Liberals will rip the heart of our soul

Do you live near St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver?

Do you want it to remain where it is?

The Liberal Government is set to move it. They have rather conveniently delayed the decision until after the election. What is motivating the sale and move is considered a win win for Liberal backers and proponent for P3 projects.

Currently St Paul's sits on some extremely valuable real estate. The Libs see the sale of the land developers as a plus. Great one time return. The downside of course is that the development will seriously affect the Westend community.

The community has seen enormous development over the years. Past City Councils and Socred governments have wanted to rip the heart of the community out for years. Mole Hill is an example. This area of older homes had been slated to be torn down for park and highrise development for 25 years or more.

Many people in the community fought back. They saved it. Former MLA Tim Stevenson was a key figure is saving Mole Hill. He lobbied hard, presented the case to BC Housing and they found a workable solution. We saved it. As Tim's CA during this time, I know the effort he put into getting it done. Current MLA, Lorne "Uncle Tom" Mayencourt has tried to take credit for his Liberal government finishing the job.

St. Paul's like Mole Hill is a part of the character of the community. Sell it and that takes away part of the collective soul. How many people have taken their loved one there to be looked after. How many dedicated staff have worked there looking after the diverse community that makes up the Westend.

It's not just a building, its the people, the struggles, it belongs to the people, and like no other hospital in BC, you can feel its heart pumping.

I have been there to be with friends dying with AIDS. So many that I can not give you a number. I have spent night upon night with someone no one else knew anymore. I have been angry inside, demanding treatment and respect and we got it. I have been with nurses there that have cried with me, with their patients, I have seen families come back in after their loved one has passed away to thank the staff for the care and their support.

What I have seen of St Paul's pales in comparison to what my partner Steven saw. He almost died in there in 1996. He died in there on June 9, 2002. He knew the nurses, he knew every little piece of the hospital, he knew the people there before him. He knew the respite staff. He felt the soul of what was St Paul's. He was one of many that made up its soul.

Now today we are facing the loss of what makes St. Paul's different than any other hospital. If St Paul's is moved leaving behind a few services we will all be losers. How can the decision makers not see this. Is health care all about numbers to them? Don't they see the heart? Don't they see or feel the community soul?

A vote for Lorne Mayencourt, no matter what his position is on St Paul's is a vote to take away a part of the soul that makes the Westend home for me, even though now I live in Kelowna. If Lorne had any clout in the Liberal government we would not be talking about moving St. Paul's.

In the names of Cliff, George, Paul, Michael, Mike, David, Jim, Mikey, Daniel, Paul, Archie, Jessie, Jim, Ron, Ron, and my love Steven and many more, lets keep what made their last days, what is supporting so many today, what is the heart of our soul alive.

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