Premier Gordon Campbell tosses loonie at striking paramedic – and proves one mans joke is another mans insult

(****Update:  It appears the great Canwest spin machine  is at work again. I woke up this morning to find a story in the Province online where the Liberal campaign manager for the candidate in the area suddenly feels the need to come forward and discredit the incident and the Paramedics claim to insult. http://www.theprovince.com/Striking+paramedics+claim+Campbell+insulted+them/1574478/story.html

Hey Liberal campaign manager, why can’t the premier speak for himself? Maybe  something like ” Hey clearly I made a bad joke and it wasn’t meant to hurt anyones feelings. ” The point being that even though people laughed, this joke was done in poor taste and shows how the premier is not able to put himself in anyone elses position. It’s called empathy. Look it up.  )

You read that right.

While in Vernon last week, Premier Gordon Campbell was addressed by peacefully striking paramedics who were outside of  a BC Liberal Candidates office.

When asked how paramedics where supposed to feed their families, the premier tossed a loonie to one of the paramedics and said :

” Don’t spend it all in one place! ”

The paramedic responded with : ” Thanks a lot, that’s half an hour pay for me!”   http://apbc.ca/preleases/20090501cupe.pdf

( paramedics currently only make $2 an hour for stand-by pay)  The exchange was caught by a local radio station. ( of which I am trying to get a link or sound byte)

Now, health minister George Abbott  is saying that it was all just a joke on the premiers part. http://apbc.ca/preleases/20090505cupe.pdf

In fact, although he didn’t actually see the loonie toss in question, according to this story in the Kelowna Daily Courier, George Abbott has this to say  : ” “There was certainly no ill intent or ill will or disrespect that day. The premier was joking with the paramedic and it was obviously misconstrued or taken out of context or turned into something it wasn’t by the CUPE public relations people.”

B.C.’s  3500 Ambulance Paramedics have been striking since April 1st,  and are the lowest paid emergency personnel in the province. During this election campaign, they’ve been showing up where ever the Premier is in an attempt to get a mediator appointed so they can get back to the bargaining table.

Now remember, these are the men and women who are sometimes performing the same duties as doctors in the ER. They have to do everything from delivering babies, to CPR to keep someone alive on the trip to hospital to roadside trauma medical care.  They see things no one should or would want to see and they do it outside, in the rain and snow, and sometimes the only thanks they get is knowing they saved a life before they have to go and clean up their vehicle.

I’ve had a couple of occasions to be transported by ambulance over the years, once for a broken leg, once for burst ovarian cyst, and once to take my grandmother to the hospice house to die.  Every single trip was made easier by the sensitive , competent and caring men who accompanied me, who took the time to not only make sure I was stable, but who also stroked my forehead to soothe me when they saw fear and pain in my eyes.In the case of transporting my grandmother, they were also friends and therapists. It’s not easy to take someone to die, who is awake and coherent and knowing all of that. But, when I had to turn away to stifle my tears, there was that strong hand once again, on mine, to soothe and comfort. And that, my friends, is worth more than any wage can compensate.

These men and women are making a pittance. They are understaffed and underpaid, and that’s a crime, considering how crucial they are to the residents of British Columbia.

 For the premier to toss a loonie , which I do believe was intended as a joke, albeit a very bad one,is an insult to what these people do, and demonstrates his inability to relate to the average working  person who struggles to make ends meet. ( see above: $2.00 an hour on standby)

At it’s best, it was a tasteless and badly conceived joke. At it’s worst, it demonstates incredibly poor judgement and disrespect to the men and women who face the worst situations, with their best efforts , everyday they go to work.

Being Premier might very well be a ” very big , big job”, but given his actions lately, “being Gordon Campbell ” seems all the more difficult.

15 thoughts on “Premier Gordon Campbell tosses loonie at striking paramedic – and proves one mans joke is another mans insult

  1. Frank Heyman

    Mr. Campbell never does anything without purpose. He shoveled pennies to make a point and throwing the dollar was a deliberate act no matter how it is spun. I believe it was an insult. It would be nice to know who gave him the idea AND the dollar.

    1. Laila

      Well Frank, I think that is what some politicians might enjoy about their job. Sometimes they can get away with stuff like this and pass it off as ” a joke” or “misconstrued”, and what can anyone really do about it?

      It is interesting to note that to my knowledge, the premier has not even addressed this incident in any form, either to deny or acknowledge or apologize. It was good old George Abbott doing damage control on this one.

  2. Laila, unless something has changed recently, in my community that is two dollars MORE per hour than our guys get. Considering that the nearest 24hr ER is about 40 minutes away in good summer weather and the ambulance may have to originate there meaning an hour an a half response time round trip, due to the fact our own ambulance is often out of service due to lack of people qualified and willing to be on call 24/7 for free, we feel poorly served to say the least.

    IIRC, a woman in Fruitvale died a couple years back because a few ambulances 5-10 minutes from her house (closer than usual) deemed her emergency not important enought to enterupt the drills/training session that had them so close to her location. Actually it was the dispatchers in Kamloops that made that call.

    Horror stories are legion in these parts, like the time a nurse from here was required to accompany a critical patient to Kelowna (5-6 hours in good weather over the Monashee Pass) and had to stay with the patient until the patient could be admitted – possibly an eternity as Code Purple is the norm there – meanwhile the EMTs and ambulance were ordered by the geniuses in Kamloops back to station as if Kelowna and the Slocan were Delta and White Rock. Once the patient was admitted the nurse was on her own, on foot and on her own time with “no way home, Like A Rolling Stone!”

  3. Meanwhile, our own ConLib candidate campaigns with the slogan “More Doctors, More Nurses…etc. ” if only they had to take an oath about such things, we could at least prosecute for perjury – or maybe there are more Doctors etc., just somewhere else, maybe down in the Lower Vainland, where all the money goes.

    Thanks to the ASSper Conspiracy though they can lie all they want and only folks like us call them on it.

  4. Just remembered, our local lyin’ ConLib candidate, Brenda Binnie, claims to have served on the CUPE executive for eight years, which could be true as Castlegar is one of the few towns in these parts with any significant union presence. I figure she either had a falling out with her union or a massive case of self loathing to run under the banner of King Gord! But even Ronnie Raygun started out as a union guy, until General Electric came along and purchased him for cash.

    The good news is Brenda better keep her day job, as she may well not only be trounced by the NDP incumbent, but could trail even the BC real Con, Green and Commie in this riding.

    1. Laila

      John: Thanks for the link and keep the faith up there in the northern climes. Seems as though this issue received some attention from the local dailies after I blogged about it, however it was totally a liberal spin-out. The good news is that this post has received a LOT of feedback privately, and I am glad to know that we bloggers aren’t pounding out the items you won’t see anywhere else for nothing. And today, Gordon seems more hated than ever, although I think the violent references in the interior were a bit much. However, it speaks to the depth of the anger British columbians feel towards the Liberals. Thsi man clearly has forgotten what it is like to struggle to make ends meet, and that will be his achilles heel.

      Koot : I hear you. And well said as always- with the usual Koot flair!

      Sorry for the delay in reply, but I really had to take the day off. Funny enough, I was at my dentists office talking to the receptionist on Friday, and she told me the story of her friend who is a paramedic/ Patient transfer person. This girl always loved medicine, helping people, and correctly thought being a paramedic was a good fit for her. And it is, but she lives here in the lower mainland and has to go to Boston Bar for her standby shifts, and is making that toonie for every hour she waits there. She had to take that patient transfer job to survive, and although shes barely getting by, she would rather be able to spend her time doing ” paramedicine” ( sorry, my own term there!)

      A damn shame, if you ask me. Stay tuned in the next day for my endorsement of the NDP and why I think anyone Green needs to dedicate their vote to the same party.

  5. salvatore bennedetto

    I am told that the Alberta paramedics have better training levels than ours do. My brother tells me that we have primarily EMTs and not too many highly trained paramedics.

  6. Love The info and have added a link to my web site. One problem is that your site blocks return to last page. If you can resolve that problem will continue to do that but if not will have to remove your link. Test link from my page to yours then try to click back button you will see what I mean. Hope you like my site as well and mabe add a link on your site back to my site.
    Thank You In Advance

  7. Laila

    Thank you Dwight, I’ll have to check out your site in more depth this week. I’m doing a bit a celebrating tonight…lol…
    I’m not quite sure what you are talking about in regards to the back button – I did as you asked and it worked fine for me, and I called a colleague who tried it and it worked for her as well.

    Has anyone else experienced this problem going back and forth from my site using the back button?

  8. Sharon

    Campbell could care less about our provinces wage earners or low income families. BC has the highest number of children living in poverty. BC also has the lowest minimum wage of $8.00 an hour. However, he must have felt he was living in poverty himself so, he gave him self a 53% wage hike, and of course, all the other governing officials also were handed huge wage increases. Why would people go anywhere near a criminal like him beats the hell out of me. The citizens of this province should boycott Campbell to show their contempt for a lying, deceiving and corrupt being, who thinks he is a premier.

  9. Gloria

    Throwing a loonie at a paramedic is one of the most crass insults out of the multitudes he has shown for his contempt of the citizens of BC. How degrading can that monster get? I am seeing this province regressing to a third world province. Then has the gall to say he would run in the 2013 election, that is also an insult to the people, he says he doesn’t put much stock in the polls. I am wondering if he has Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, because of his bizarre behaviour. His sociopath manner to the plight of children living in poverty, his manner to-wards $8.00 an hour minimum wage, he feels no remorse for what his treatment is doing to this province. The only thing he was remorseful about was, being caught in the criminal DUI charge. This guy is not normal.

  10. Gloria

    I have been asking everyone if they had heard about, the 4 member panel, examining: The auditor General. Chief of Electoral Officer. Conflict of interest Commissioner. Information and Privacy Commissioner. The Ombudsperson. The police Commissioner, and the Rep. for Children and youth.

    They are supposed to report to the Speaker of the House, April 15th.

    If, this is so, it has been kept, very quiet.

    Have you heard anything Laila? It was said that, Vaughn Palmer mentioned on his blog.

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