BC Green Party Leader Sonia Fursteneau and MLA for Saanich and the Islands Adam Olsen will be visiting the Northwest over the next few days as a part of the Green Party’s provincial health care tour.
They arrived in Smithers this morning (Monday) and met with Mayor Gladys Atrill and then hosted a meet and greet at a local residence.
According to Furstenau, the point of the tour is to hear about the lack of doctors for residents by doctors, nurses and the community.
She said that she is also hearing about the housing crisis and the struggle it is to find workers.
“This is not just a small town problem, not just a big city problem, it is an everywhere in BC problem,” she said.
“That’s exacerbated by when doctors are closing their practices, We’ve heard that three local doctors are going to be retiring or leaving their practice here, that’s a very significant impact in implications for the community,” Furstenau said.
She added that with residents not having a family doctor it is putting enormous pressure on hospitals and the acute care system.
Furstenau also said what she believes needs to be done to help improve the healthcare system.
“ We need to let go of this health authority run ubcc model and focus on supporting doctors and nurse practitioners and healthcare professionals to build their teams in their communities, have that infrastructure so they’re not worried about overhead costs so they are able to deliver that healthcare,” she said.
Additionally, she called the housing crisis an emergency and that there needs to be investments from the province and the federal government so communities can get housing built quickly.
She also said that she is looking forward to meeting with people throughout the week and to hear about their concerns.
Olsen and Furstenau will be attending a peace and unity gathering, meeting with different people and then attending a salmon festival later this week.
The pair will be in the Northwest region until Saturday (July 31).