KAMLOOPS — One of the reasons I’ve never run for political office is the constant behind-the-scenes dagger throwing that goes on and the manipulation that takes place in the offices of government. When, during almost every election of any sort, someone asks me to consider running, I’ve by and large said “no.” I understand that this backstabbing, maneuvering and political gamesmanship is also prevalent in virtually every business in the country, but at least I have a choice not to work there if I don’t want.
I always hope when a new government comes to power, that things might change. But again, the NDP has been most predictable about things. They’ve already manipulated some of their promises, delayed others, and play the political games like everyone before them.
The latest example of that came today, when Health Minister Adrian Dix announced new chairs for four of the province’s six health authorities. It’s political partisanship all the way. And while the removed Chairs were appointed by the Liberals, it should not automatically be that the previous people should be removed. John O’Fee is one of those removed from Interior Health. John had only recently become the Chair, and it was pointless to change. I understand the government wants their own people in place. That’s part of the stupid political process. You get good people, it shouldn’t matter what political stripe they are. I’ve always believed you get the best people for the job, no matter who they are. John O’Fee is a terrifically talented man, he has a tremendous background of service to the province and to the community. He is capable of leading a group like Interior Health and he has the credentials. He should have been kept on. Now, to be fair, maybe deep down John didn’t want to see health care go in a different direction under a new government, and wasn’t willing to serve.
So instead of a person from the Interior, who knows what the Interior needs, we get a doctor from the coast, Dr. Doug Cochrane, who may or may not be in tune with our needs. Health care in Vancouver is not the same as the Interior. Not by a long shot. Dr. Cochrane seems to have good credentials. But I have concerns about what these appointments mean for the future of health care in this province. I’m not saying Dr. Cochrane is a bad choice, but you can’t keep making changes in direction and expect to make progress. That’s not the way it works. You have to have a long term vision, and that vision has to be somewhat independent of the political process.
So who knows where we go from here? Does Dr. Cochrane believe Kamloops needs better care than we have now? Will we still have our new patient tower as the number one priority in the province, as the Health Minister claimed when he was last here? Or is it going to be a repeat of the Cancer Clinic we lost to Kelowna years ago. Another broken promise? Obviously only time will tell. And while it’s largely unfair to be critical of new people coming in before they’ve even started, my biggest concern is that change signifies a different direction, and that’s not always good. And when you have talented people in place, why don’t we just let them do the job? The NDP government is quickly proving that they aren’t much different at political games than their predecessors.