An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
IT’S NOT TOO SOON to start pushing Premier John Horgan on his plans for a cancer centre in Kamloops.
He made the promise to counter one made by the BC Liberals during last fall’s provincial election campaign and that was the last meaningful thing he’s had to say about it.
Horgan appears to brush off questions on the clinic with offhand assurances that it’s part of the province’s 10-year cancer care plan and, not to worry. In fact, he has said it can be done in four years.
What we need is an actual plan. His four-year promise might be ambitious but it should certainly be possible, if work begins now.
So, he and his government should ignore the politics and provide some answers to the letter he recently received from several B.C. Liberal MLAs, including Peter Milobar, Todd Stone, Jackie Tegart, Greg Kyllo and Lorne Doerkson.
Those MLAs represent a broad swath of the B.C. Interior from the Shuswap to Fraser-Nicola to the North and South Thompson to Cariboo-Chilcotin. It’s a reminder of the vast area and diversity of population that would be served by a cancer treatment center here.
The five MLAs peppered Horgan with a lot of specifics that should nonetheless be answerable, such as when he expects the Kamloops clinic to become operable, where it will be located and what the scope of treatment will be.
Among their most important questions involve funding. Will the provincial government fund it through the Ministry of Health? Will Interior Health be involved? The Thompson Regional Hospital District? The latter, of course, would mean local taxpayers would be on the hook for a major part of the cost.
Kamloops won’t forget then-Premier Mike Harcourt’s broken promise from the ‘90s when he guaranteed this city a cancer centre and then gave it to Kelowna instead.
Time for some reassurance from Horgan that we aren’t in for more of the same.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.