Among the many objectionable things Health Minister Adrian Dix said during his March 19 constituency meeting at Sechelt Legion, one deserves special mention. Dix spoke proudly of his government’s commitment to honouring contracts and suggested that overturning the 2016 deal between Trellis and Vancouver Coastal Health would be tantamount to “ripping up contracts” as the Liberals did with teachers in 2002.
Freedom of Information documents obtained by Coast Reporter over a year ago indicate that VCH has long been able to walk away from the Trellis contract without penalty. Even if this is not the case, to compare terminating a contract with Trellis to the Liberals’ treatment of teachers is offensive and absurd.
As education minister, Christy Clark trampled on collective bargaining rights and denied classroom resources to a generation of students. As health minister, Adrian Dix has the chance to end a deal that would jeopardize care, impoverish workers, and leave families on the hook for thousands of dollars of unfunded costs. Dix’s claim that he is acting in our interest by letting this contract stand is an insult to the people of the Sunshine Coast
The minister’s defence of the sanctity of contracts is especially galling considering that the NDP’s first initiative after taking office last year was to remove tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges. This involved buying out – or to use Dix’s phrase, ripping up – contracts on a grand scale. What does it say of a government’s priorities that it will pay hundreds of millions of dollars to underwrite toll-free driving on a pair of bridges but won’t lift a finger to keep publicly-owned and operated care facilities from being turned over to a private, for-profit concern?
Shame on Dix and shame on the NDP.
Ian McLatchie, Davis Bay