Libertarian Don Jeffcoat speaks at the Lumby provincial election forum alongside fellow candidates Liberal Eric Foster (left), Green Keli Westgate and NDP Barry Dorval Wednesday evening at the White Valley Community Centre. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star)

Candidates tackle issues in Lumby

Lumby Chamber of Commerce hosts forum for the four Vernon-Monashee candidates

Vernon-Monashee candidates were faced with a wide array of issues as they answered to Lumby and area voters Wednesday.

New Democrat Barry Dorval, Green Keli Westgate and Libertarian Don Jefcoat joined incumbent Liberal Eric Foster on his home turf for the Lumby Chamber of Commerce forum at the White Valley Community Centre.

The four candidates were questioned on farm gate sales, brownfields, a road to Silver Star, composting, the balanced budget, vaccine transparency, Site C, post secondary tuition, bridge toll removal and Daylight Savings Time.

The loss of two of the three doctors in Lumby, an aging population and healthcare concerns were also topics raised by some of the approximately 70 people in attendance.

“It’s a huge challenge. I’ve been here 35 years and it’s been a revolving door of doctors,” said Foster, noting that the Liberal government is trying to take the burden off of physicians with such measures as changing the scope of practice for pharmacists. “If you can take some of that day to day work out of their (doctor’s) office it helps.”

Each of the candidates agreed that there is a need for more doctors, but also had some additional suggestions.

Dorval suggested doctors need a team to work with, but also that when they are being trained there be a rural post component to highlight the benefits of working in a small town.

“So they can see coming to a place like Lumby is not a death sentence, it’s a wonderful thing,” said Dorval, a high school English teacher.

Westgate says more needs to be done on the prevention side so less doctors are needed, as well as taking pressure off doctors with other professionals such as midwifes. Addressing conditions early on is also essential, she said, using breast cancer as one example.

“If you have a lump being able to look at that early and not having to wait so long that it creates a bigger problem,” said Westgate, sales and marketing manager at Spa Hills Compost.

Jefcoat (a cook) said more community practices are needed, which includes nurse practitioners and a support network to take the burden off doctors.

“If you had a rash that just showed up you could go see a nurse practitioner and she could tell you you just need a cream,” said Jefcoat, adding that places like Williams Lake actually calls doctors and offers incentives to try and get them to town.

Also on the topic of healthcare was the cost of medications, which many are struggling with.

“There’s a lot of people that can’t afford pills, whether it’s Tylenol or prescriptions,” said Jefcoat, who would like to see Pharmacare put into universal health care.

“It’s debilitating. It’s cruel,” added Dorval, whose NDP party would push for a national Pharmacare program. “This is a national issue, it affects every Canadian.”

The Greens are looking at an essential drugs program for 2019, said Westgate, and other initiatives.

“Reduce the costs of medications and raise the rate paid to those with disability,” she urged.

While he agrees it is an issue, Foster points out that the government already has a $19 billion healthcare bill.

Veering off the healthcare topic, on the prospect of a road from Lumby to Silver Star, everyone agreed it was necessary as another emergency route and would be a big boost to Lumby.

But Foster says the cost is up in the $25 million range.

“It’s a huge expense. It goes through some pretty sensitive area and there has to be a good reason to build it.”

For more election 2017 stories click here.


Jean Latval questions candidates about the loss of doctors in Lumby during Wednesday’s forum hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star)

Libertarian Don Jeffcoat speaks at the Lumby provincial election forum alongside fellow candidate Liberal Eric Foster Wednesday evening at the White Valley Community Centre. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star)

Just Posted

Two North Okanagan students receive Premier’s Scholarship to study abroad

Two North Okanagan students are about to embark on the journey of a lifetime

Meningococcal disease outbreak declared in Okanagan

Five cases in last six months among 15-to-19 year-olds, including one in Coldstream

Van fire extinguished

Fire damages vehicle and fence Wednesday night in Vernon

Life’s a beach for new/old radio station

KISS-FM becomes Beach 107.5; goes back to old CJIB call letters

Beairsto students decorate Christmas cookies

Beairsto students get creative in the kitchen

Sagmoen case adjourned, again

Small, yet mighty, rally again on Vernon courthouse steps

Smart Cities Challenge needs community support

What challenges could Penticton solve with innovative ideas and $50 million?

Debt-to-household-income ratio rises in third quarter

Total household credit market debt grew to $2.11 trillion in the third quarter

Charges in car wash shooting stalled

Court waits for police watchdog report on Salmon Arm incident.

B.C. Mountie told to resign after texting teenage sex assault victim

RCMP documents say Const. Brian Eden sent sexually inappropriate photos to 17-year-old girl

Family doctors should learn to treat addiction, not shun patients: scientist

B.C. Centre on Substance Use’s Dr. Evan Wood said efforts underway to change addiction medicine image

Four dog deaths investigated in Cranbrook

One vet suggests a parallel to these deaths and similar ones in 2016

Vernon civic candidate signage rules relaxed

Candidates permitted to post unlimited signs on public property

Seaton serves up Christmas lunch

Seaton Secondary’s full turkey and ham lunch was enjoyed by over 185 students Dec. 13

Most Read