Dear Editor:

When phoning 911 in need of an ambulance you expect the local emergency service to be ready, willing and able to show up. You might say such a service is essential. Indeed, about 1,000 of you agreed with that sentiment by signing a petition asking the provincial government to include B.C. paramedics in legislation to give the ambulance service the same rights as police and fire departments.

Although our area exceeded its target, due to the high threshold needed (reaching 10 per cent of the voters in every riding across the province is an immense feat) this initiative was not successful provincially.

All is not lost though. With the provincial election approaching (May 9th), it is important to cast your vote for a party that supports paramedics.

NDP candidate Gerry Taft most eloquently expressed an understanding of the issue in a February 3rd edition of the Columbia Valley Pioneer. He said, rural paramedics receive ridiculously low on-call wages with little prospect of full time employment, resulting in a shortage of paramedics in many communities [including ours].

As an essential service, paramedics wouldnt be lumped in with unrelated workers like hospital cooks and janitors when negotiating working conditions and service levels in the community. Members of the communities we serve have shown great respect and support for the ambulance service and the paramedics who work here. For that we thank you!

Invermere Paramedics