Monday, April 28, 2014

BC Politics

What about BCAS and Smart Meters?

John Horgan answers a couple of questions

Staff/Voice file photo John Horgan


wo weeks ago, on April 15, NDP Leadership Candidate John Horgan, swung through Chilliwack for lunch with supporters.


Based on the number of prepared questions, it would have been easy to do a one-on-one with Horgan. But time was short and the Voice had an opportunity to ask only two questions.


Later, the Voice was told that we could ask two more questions. Those were sent. Horgan's people finally got back to us with his answers. For that, we are grateful and thank him for taking time out of his busy schedule to do that.

1. Smart Meters
The Liberals tossed smart meters around in a game of political football prior to the last election. As Energy Critic, you called Hogg and Coleman on it. Would an NDP government force Hydro to go back to the old analog meters even if that costs another billion dollars to change over?  (140,000 meters in the province)

Should the BC Utilities Commission have been involved with smart meters, and what difference would that have made on the issue? Also, you say the Liberals forced the BCUC to raise Hydro rates, is the commission impotent when it comes to dealing with the Liberal gov't? How do you give the commission teeth?

Some people feel the smart meter opt-out fees are too high. What's your feeling on this?

Horgan: I was very critical of the costly implementation of a program without proper oversight by the BCUC. BC Liberal manipulation of BC Hydro and electricity supply has caused painful increases in Hydro rates. A New Democrat government would restore proper oversight by the BCUC. 

2. BC Ambulance Service
A shortage of ambulances has left Chilliwack without core coverage on many occasions.

Some fallout from the new BCAS policy happened last week, when a Yarrow man had a stroke and had to wait while paramedics drove all the way from Agassiz without their emergency lights to Yarrow.

Paramedics are doing 12 hour shifts, and they're often on duty for longer. Isnít it a public safety issue when a paramedic is working 12-14 hours and then they're asked to go crawl into a car wreck and save someone's life when they're dead tired?

BC Ambulance paramedics tell me that in order to meet demand, they need 2 additional staffed ambulances in each area of the Lower Mainland. Is BCAS on your radar? What would the NDP do about this problem?

Horgan: The BC Liberals have created major challenges throughout our health and seniors care systems. Improving health care for BC families has always been a priority for New Democrats, and it will be even more of a priority under my leadership. 

That includes the BCAS, which has been run roughshod over by the BC Liberals. I have met regularly with BCAS representatives. The British Columbians served by the BCAS can count on a New Democrat government under my leadership that will prioritize this critical community service. 


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