British Columbia

Vernon NDP MLA to face recall petition over health-care issues

The British Columbia government's handling of the health-care file has prompted a Vernon, B.C., resident to launch a recall campaign against her local MLA.

Elections B.C. says petition application meets requirements, will issue petition Aug. 12

A woman wearing a brown blazer and white blouse takes a selfie.
Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee, is the subject of a recall application to Elections B.C. (Harwinder Sandhu/Twitter)

The British Columbia government's handling of the health-care file has prompted a Vernon, B.C., resident to launch a recall campaign against her local New Democrat member of the legislature.

Genevieve Ring says Vernon-Monashee MLA Harwinder Sandhu should be recalled because she is part of the NDP government that has failed residents of British Columbia on the critical issues of COVID-19 and health care.

Ring says she is not prepared to wait for the next election scheduled for the fall of 2024 to make changes to improve health care.

Elections B.C. says in a statement it has received a petition application from Ring that meets the requirements of the Recall and Initiative Act and will issue the petition on Aug. 12.

Any registered voter in B.C. can apply to have a recall petition issued for their electoral district, as long as they submit an application form, a $50 processing fee and a short statement about why the MLA should be recalled. 

Sandhu says she will not be intimidated by those she calls "a small group of extreme activists that do not represent the vast majority of people'' in the riding.

The MLA, who worked as a registered nurse at Vernon's Royal Jubilee Hospital before being elected in 2020, says she stands behind the decisions the government has made to keep residents and front-line workers safe during the pandemic.

"I have worked really hard to represent all people of Vernon-Monashee diligently and I will continue to do so every day because I am so proud of the people I represent,'' Sandhu said in a statement on Monday.

Elections B.C. says in order for the recall petition to be successful, canvassers must collect signatures from 40 per cent of eligible voters, or 21,268 people, by Oct. 11.

Of the 26 previously approved petitions since the act came into force in 1995, none have resulted in the recall of an MLA, according to Elections B.C. However, if there were to be a successful recall petition, a byelection must be called within 90 days and the recalled MLA would be allowed to run. 

"There has to be some duty that they feel toward the people they are supposed to represent, and she has done nothing,'' Ring said, referring to Sandhu.

"I would say the NDP has botched these whole two years and she's part of it.''

With files from CBC News

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