In January, Interior Health announced the permanent closure of the Invermere Dialysis Unit, forcing dialysis patients to travel to Cranbrook three times a week for treatment. Immediately Invermere Mayor Gerry Taft and MLA Norm Macdonald spoke out against the closure and began to work with government to make the case for the re-opening of the dialysis clinic. Due in large part to their effort, IH is is reconsidering the closure.
In last week’s Valley Echo front page report, it was stated that “unanimous” political pressure had resulted in IH putting a freeze on removing the dialysis equipment while the situation was being reviewed. But the truth of the matter is that when it comes to politicians, or want-to-be politicians, opposition to the closure was not unanimous. On January 23, the local BC Liberal candidate, Doug Clovechok, penned a 300 word letter which he sent to at least three area newspapers, in which he defended both the government and Interior Health in their decision to close the clinic. His support for the closure was unequivocal. Yet when interviewed by the Valley Echo last week he claimed that the decision to close the dialysis unit ” didn’t sit well with him from the beginning”. Doug Clovechok is asking us to support him in his bid to become MLA; he is asking to be our representative in Victoria. But when he had the opportunity to fight for a program that provides a life-saving service for local citizens, he first chose to defend the government. And then, when others who were doing their jobs representing their constituents began to have some success, Mr. Clovechok tried to take some of the credit. I prefer an MLA who represents me in Victoria, rather than one who represents Victoria to me!