People often grouse they are powerless to influence government decisions.
Here is a chance to change that.
On Wednesday, at 7 p.m. in the hospital cafeteria, the Yukon Hospital Corporation board of trustees is holding its annual general meeting.
There are plenty of reasons for you to attend.
Need a refresher?
Well, we could get all warm and fuzzy and tell you health care is important and you should be involved. But that probably wouldn’t drag you to the meeting.
So we’ll go for the pocketbook.
Consider, for a moment, that the board paid itself roughly $17,600 contrary to cabinet order.
Last year, the publicly funded corporation screwed up. It authorized a staggering pay increase to board members. Chair Craig Tuton saw his annual stipend rise to $34,800 from $3,600. The other members’ rose to $400 a meeting from $200.
The problem stems from the fact cabinet signed an order stating the board pay was to stay what it was. Several months later, it revised its order.
However, while cabinet’s old order stood, the board’s cheques were cut and cashed. And, now that the error is public, Tuton and the board won’t give the money back.
“The government hasn’t asked us to,” said Tuton. “It’s the way it is.”
If you hold a different view, you should attend the meeting. Confront the board and hear its answer for yourself.
Of course, $17,600 is chicken feed.
You could also ask the board to justify why the new doctors’ residence cost $17 million. In contrast, the large Yukon Housing complex in Riverdale came in at less than $10 million. Why the lavish digs for the visiting docs? You might ask the board on Tuesday.
You might also get them to tell you why they are willing to mortgage the future of the hospital corporation to do it?
And, while we’re on that subject, you might want to ask the trustees to cough up the social and economic studies upon which it decided to take out that other $50-million mortgage to build two community hospitals in Watson Lake and Dawson City.
Be forewarned, our access to information request turned up nothing to justify the cost. Maybe the trustees are holding something back. Or maybe such solid reasoning doesn’t exist.
We do know they are spending quite a bit of cash on heartwarming ads about bringing sound medical care to your hometown.
But are hometown hospitals really going to improve the territory’s health-care system? How? Is it going to cut the health budget or drive it sky high? And if so, by how much?
And where is the money going to come from? Will the Health Department be able to maintain the current level of service, or will it have to make cuts to pay for the facilities?
Have they done the studies to answer these things? If not, why not?
As you can see, these issues provoke some interesting questions.
We’ve been asking for months and getting very little in the way of good answers.
Now it’s your turn.
The Yukon Hospital Corp. trustees are banking on your apathy. They aren’t expecting people to show up.
They want you to stay home.
If you do, you forfeit your right to complain. You become as powerless as you may currently feel.
But this is your chance to change that.
Why not come out and give it a try?
After all, beyond comprehensive health-care coverage, what do you have to lose? (Richard Mostyn)