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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

We (news media) may shovel the bullshit, but they (government) use front end loaders. Sadly, all governments do this . . . it’s gone on forever

Artist rendering of the Nanaimo ICU. (Island Health)

In November / December of last year I sent a number of emails to media contacts for Vancouver Island Health, as well as another who is well placed in Ministry of Health Communications.  I was looking for information on the November 22 announcement of a new ICU to be built at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.  In particular:

  • I understand the formal request for the new ICU was made to the government in October 2017 -- are you able to elaborate on the process for how this is / was done, and who formally makes the request on behalf of the hospital (or is it Island Health which makes the request)?
  • new government facilities usually have a three to five-year capitol plan created to prepare and develope the project, as well as the time needed for creating the business plan.  Based on this, preparation for the new ICU must have begun several years ago.  If not, are you able to advise when the business and capitol plan was developed?
  •  the existing 10 bed ICU facility has been severely over-crowed for some time now, and expected to care for 2,500 people this year.  The new facility is expected to be caring for an additional 700 patients (or a 30% increase) within the next 15 years.  With those number in mind, how many beds will be in the new ICU, and how far in to the future do you expect it to meet the needs of hospital patients in the region?
  • does Nanaimo Regional Hospital currently have High Acuity Unit (HAU) beds, and are any additional ones planned as part of the new ICU project?


I was hoping to have info sent to me by the individuals with access to it, however after several request which led to as promise it would be sent to me, it was not (I’ll let you read in to that what you may).  Not to be deterred I submitted a Freedom Of Information request on December 11th.  Two days later a did receive a response which stated I should be a be receiving the information January 25th, 2019.

FUN FACT #1:  The provincial by-election to replace NDP MLA Leonard Krog who was elected the new city Mayor, is being held January 30th)


On January 22nd, I received a new email from Information Access Operations (Ministry of Citizens' Services) regarding my Dec 11th FOI request – it indicated there would be a 30-day delay, making March 22nd the new date I could expect the information.

FUN FACT #2 ... this new date puts it conveniently after the Nanaimo by-election (refer to Fun Fact #1)

I was hoping to have info sent to me, by individuals from Vancouver Island Health, or the Ministry of Health – I thought the answers would be important for voters to know.

One of several media people I know said to me,
Of course, the announcement was for effect in the election. They’ve now gone one step further, instead of announcing fait accompli, Nanaimo is now “first on the list” for an acute care expansion.


He went on to say, “I collected government announcements and filed them. I then collected them when the same project was announced ... again ... and again; up to four times or more.”

The conclusion to their thoughts?  They never have a completion date on them, so we don’t know when Nanaimo will get its ICU - just that it’s coming some time. Same with the ACU; Nanaimo is “first on the list”.

Another of my acquaintances in the news media said to me;
My advice is to give it a pass - it's not worth your trouble and it IS for a good purpose - rebuilding the long-underfunded hospital in Nanaimo.”

I honestly find that comment a bit heartbreaking.  What it says to me is that the lies of the past are okay, because now we’re get a bone to nibble on. 

There’s a problem with that though.  Several years ago, in an article entitled, “Letting Go”, a small portion of it stated:

It's hard to let go of the past in the absence of a positive view of tomorrow. You need a vision of the future. An investment in, a distraction through, or an excitement about something ahead will supply the energy and the will to push you beyond the past. Creating it requires deliberate mental focus.

When it comes to the political process, we are promised things over and over again, or at the very least strong hints are dropped about things that then never seem to happen.  In other words, would that not lead to the public becoming cynical and having a hard time letting go of the past in the absence of a positive view of tomorrow. 

Here are a few true examples:


  • we’re building this that or the other thing in your hometown, rather than such and such elsewhere

  • rural communities are important to our government ... immediately followed by one announcement after the other of schools, hospital, and government buildings and agencies being shuttered

  • we’re going to build a big new much needed government facility in your home town ... which then leads to the next announcement that its not going ahead after all ... followed by the government telling us that we are sure lucky because they won’t be taking any jobs away not going ahead that new corporate building, but the good news is you won’t be losing the jobs to another community

  • we’re building a modern new cancer facility in your city ... and then several months later they announce it’s being built elsewhere

  •  we’ll be reducing this tax or another shortly ... which doesn’t happen, and instead new hidden taxes and fees are applied ...


Cynicism is around us every day ... and it’s there the most ... when we think about government, and what it does, doesn’t do, our takes from us.  Cynicism lead to comments like these:

You trying to prove that governments adjust the timing and substance of announcements for partisan political gain is like reinventing an old car.  I sympathize, but not much.”

Maybe things can change.  We can only hope that it will be soon, before we lose all respect for our leaders.

I’m Alan Forseth in Kamloops.  If you have any thoughts on this, or anything else you read on the blog, I welcome you to share them in the Comments Section below. 

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