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To the Honourable Jamie Fox. I am writing to share my extreme disappointment about the experience of presenting our health-care petition from residents of the South Shore and area.
First of all, 1,371 signatures were collected on a petition initiated by the seven local Women’s Institutes. District 7 is comprised of the Women’s Institutes of Crapaud, Augustine Cove, Argyle Shore, Bonshaw, Hampton, Tryon and Victoria. (1371 is a significant number.)
We received notice our petition would be presented in the legislature today (Wednesday Nov. 27) between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. To show our support for health care in rural South Shore, Women’s Institute members including the president of the provincial WI board, members of the South Shore Health and Wellness Inc. and members of the public were in attendance. We had so many supporters that many were turned away to watch on a screen across the street.
I do not understand the routines and protocols of the legislature, but I do understand when something (our health-care petition) is deemed insignificant and not important enough to warrant an introduction, an explanation nor detailed description.
You, my MLA, stood to present our petition. Yes, you did say 108 pages with 1,371 signatures had been collected. Did you give a background synopsis about the topic of the petition? No! Did you present any of the details of our petition with all our concerns? No! Earlier, ministers had welcomed us warmly, joking and acknowledging our presence in the visitors gallery – it was all lip-service!
I realize you are a minister of government. Possibly, you didn’t want to be in a position to embarrass your government with the details of our petition. Possibly you did not want to put your minority government in an awkward position. Possibly your minister of health would have to explain what “health hubs” really are, and that their vision does not include another nurse practitioner nor physician for our area. We, the voting public, will never know those answers now, as from all appearances our petition was not important enough to be introduced publicly.
What are the next steps you and your government will take regarding our health-care petition? Will your government respond to the petition publicly, as is done in the House of Commons? Will the points of our petition ever be discussed publicly, in the legislature? Will we, as concerned citizens, ever receive honest and public answers? Where is government’s accountability and government’s transparency you so greatly demand of everyone else?
This is the second South Shore health-care petition that has been presented to the legislature. Absolutely nothing resulted from the first. From all appearances, absolutely nothing will come of this second one presented today (on Wednesday)! And you wonder why ordinary citizens are apathetic and discouraged about politics and their MLAs?
I look forward to your answer, and will share it with all I meet, especially the women of South Shore Institutes, and members of the provincial board of WI.
Fran Albrecht is a member of the Tryon Women’s Institute and a South Shore resident with no family doctor.