Much is often made of the power of the people, to the point that it seems almost cliche.
But Friday was a good example of what can happen when residents from all walks of life band together in a unified front.
Health Minister Michael de Jong finally arrived to announce capacity issues at Vernon Jubilee Hospital will be addressed and additional beds will be opened.
This only occurred because residents of the North Okanagan held the feet of their elected officials to the fire, and the lobbying was truly impressive.
Hundreds of people showed up for rallies in front of VJH on statutory holidays while the residents of Falkland gathered in huge numbers to add their voice. Vernonite Peter Hill organized rallies and petitions. Purple ribbons demanding action were worn as a badge of honour.
On top of this were the tireless efforts of physicians and nurses, who have personally experienced first-hand the challenges of having patients in the halls or surgeries cancelled. Virtually every local municipal council also placed their support behind the campaign.
Credit must also go to Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster who clearly understands what an elected representative is supposed to do. He stood shoulder-to-shoulder with his residents even when it was his own government experiencing scrutiny.
And this energy that crossed the region will continue to be needed as planning for the new beds proceeds. We must remain vigilant that the government fulfills its commitments. But for now, all residents of the North Okanagan should celebrate the role they played in ensuring their elected officials not only listened to them, but actually responded.
—The Morning Star