EDITORIAL – Local candidates can’t avoid two key election issues

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

A LOT OF THINGS are coming together at once to shape the provincial election in the Kamloops-South Thompson and Kamloops-North Thompson ridings.

I harken back to a Feb. 17 editorial in which I predicted there would be two key issues in this election: health care and Ajax. Today (Friday, March 31, 2017) that looks more than ever to be the case.

The walk-in medicine issue, which is part and parcel of the doctor shortage, will be vibrantly illustrated again as the NorKam Health Centre shuts down its walk-in clinic to new patients at the end of the day.

It’s becoming very clear: the top two issues in the two Kamloops ridings will be health care and Ajax

One has only to have been a patient at this clinic or to have witnessed one of the lengthy daily line-ups to understand the negative impact the closure will have on many people.

Coincidentally, as this story was being updated on CFJC Today yesterday, a separate story was being reported on the fact that HealthLink B.C. has connected 600 people with healthcare professionals.

This was portrayed as “good news” but, in fact, it isn’t even news. Health Minister Terry Lake released the “600” number some weeks ago, while acknowledging there are still more than 5,000 on the HealthLink waiting list who haven’t been connected yet.

Sure, it’s a good start, but when one considers that as many as 20,000 or more Kamloops residents haven’t even bothered to put themselves on that wait list (probably having given up), the enormity of the problem becomes apparent.

As for Ajax, it’s in the news again, big-time. The re-start of the environmental assessment process that was announced yesterday came on the same day as the Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation (SSN) announced a ceremony will be held Saturday to strengthen First Nations opposition to the mine.

KGHM Ajax seems determined to see through its proposal right to the end, but there’s no question that opposition currently has the upper hand.

And with the review process underway once again, and with City council preparing to receive a report from its independent consultant and to finally debate the project ahead of the B.C. election, there will be no way for candidates to avoid dealing with it.

Jobs and political donations may be front and centre at the broad provincial level but here at home all parties will have to come up with some straight answers on health care and Ajax.

Mel Rothenburger is a former daily newspaper editor and a former mayor of Kamloops. Contact him at

About Mel Rothenburger (5858 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on EDITORIAL – Local candidates can’t avoid two key election issues

  1. What you haven’t stated explicitly, but still remains relevant, is the connection between the two issues. If Ajax goes ahead, the local doctor shortage won’t get any better, but in fact, worse.

    Lining up for health care like refugees do for food isn’t really acceptable. Making it worse? Even less acceptable.

  2. The only problem that will remain well after all kind of promises are going to be made is…how do we, the taxpayers, make them, the politicians, owe up to them promises?
    Isn’t that the biggest problem of it all?

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