Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.


The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

James promises to scrap Bill 29

When she’s elected premier, “eliminating every single remaining provision of Bill 29” will be one of her first orders of business, NDP leader Carole James told the Hospital Employees Union (HEU) convention in a speech Friday morning.

On the final day of the HEU’s week-long 27th biennial convention, in front of 600 HEU delegates from across the province, James vowed to scrap the bill that restructured health care in B.C. after the Liberals came into power in 2002.

Passed on Jan. 27, 2002, the bill took apart existing collective agreements, privatized health care services and caused approximately 6,000 health care workers in B.C. to lose their jobs, a move that James described as an “attack on health care workers and an affront to all British Columbians” during her speech.

It's been years since the Supreme Court ruled some provisions of the bill unconstitutional in 2007 and the HEU subsequently achieved compensation for most health care workers affected by the bill, but James’ announcement still garnered massive applause and standing ovations from the crowd.

Once she was done criticizing Gordon Campbell’s statement to the province on Wednesday night and the outcome of the Basi-Virk scandal, James spent much of her time on the microphone re-affirming the NDP’s dedication to the HEU and public health care.

With Metro Vancouver NDP MLAs in tow at the back of the conference room, James stated her case, touting public health care spending as a money saver for government and businesses, a catalyst for investment in B.C., a way to grow jobs and a method for enhancing social equality.

James made time to denounce illegal billing at private clinics and user fees in hospitals, promising to eliminate user fees for convalescent care. She also promised best practices for cleaning hospitals to address the “dirty hospitals” and “higher infection” rates impacted by the outsourcing of cleaning services by Bill 29.

Her assurances and references to 2013 elections didn’t go un-noticed by re-elected HEU president Ken Robinson.

“Our members were there for you in those communities and those campaigns in 2009, we will be there for you in 2013 and every day in between,” Robinson said.

After receiving a gift bag from Robinson containing a $100 donation to the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre on behalf of HEU members and an HEU environmental scarf to wear through the winter, James left the delegates to their constitutional amendments.

Justin Langille reports for The Tyee.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus