Nothing political about swine flu outbreak: B.C. campaigners
Last Updated: Monday, April 27, 2009 | 7:30 AM PT
B.C. health authorities confirmed two cases of swine flu in the province Sunday, but the two major political parties campaigning ahead of the May 12 provincial election took the high road and steered clear of trying to make it into an election issue.
Mary Polak, the Liberal candidate in Langley, said she did not anticipate that the NDP would make a campaign issue out of the flu outbreak.
"I expect they will treat this with the seriousness with which it should be treated," Polak said Sunday in Vancouver.
"This is a very serious matter and a public health matter, so, really, I would hope they would approach this in an appropriate manner and not attempt to bring some kind of political advantage or disadvantage into it."
NDP Leader Carole James agreed politics shouldn't play a part in the issue.
"I don't think it will [affect the campaign], but the important piece in all of this is communication and information," James said after attending a campaign event in the city's West End.
"People I talk to are worried about whether they should be travelling, whether it's all right to travel," she said.
"I think the important part for the public health officials to focus on is getting information out, because knowledge is going to be helpful to everyone who is concerned whether this will spread."
While James expressed concern about B.C.'s health-care system in general, she emphasized the most important thing now is that the two confirmed cases get the help they need.
"I have a lot of concerns about our public health-care system and the lack of support for a public health-care system, but right now, with a couple cases in B.C., we need to make sure first and foremost that those people are supported."
James also repeated the NDP's call for B.C. Solicitor General John van Dongen to resign after it was revealed he had lost his driver's licence for four months because of two tickets for speeding.
"I still believe John van Dongen has to be taken out of that position because he has a different standard in that unique position as the top cop. It's not about speeding tickets, it's about the top cop."
At dissolution of the legislature, the Liberals held 45 seats to the NDP's 34. A redistribution of electoral boundaries increased the number of seats up for grabs this time to 85.