B.C. paramedics were pushing for essential service status like firefighters and police officers. (Black Press photo)

B.C. paramedics were pushing for essential service status like firefighters and police officers. (Black Press photo)

Paramedics’ campaign falls short

Not enough signatures collected to make paramedics an essential service

Paramedics remain upbeat despite falling short of their target.

Ambulance attendants had been seeking voters’ signature on a petition to have them classified as an essential service in B.C. However, Elections B.C. reports that the initiative process failed and changes to provincial legislation will not occur.

“Locally we were very happy with the effort and support. Unfortunately, some of the metro areas didn’t get enough people out to canvas,” said Dean Perry, a Vernon paramedic.

“The public support was with us throughout the province. This initiative petition increased public awareness and received 215,192 signatures, a very strong percentage against the number of registered voters that actually vote. Hopefully the government will take note and do the right thing. Hopefully it becomes an election issue.”

Under the Recall and Initiative Act, signatures of at least 10 per cent of the registered voters in each of the province’s 85 current electoral districts were required.

“The proponent has not submitted sufficient signatures on the petition sheets, therefore our office has determined that this petition does not meet the requirements of the Recall and Initiative Act and is unsuccessful,” said Keith Archer, chief electoral officer.

The initiative petition was issued to the proponent, Joshua Russell Henshaw, Jan. 9 and signatures were collected over 90 days.