It's probably a decade too late, but for most citizens in the Lower Mainland, this week's hospital road show by the Liberals was still a welcome sight.
Health Minister Michael de Jong unveiled what could be an up to $750-million redevelopment of Royal Columbian Hospital on Tuesday. A day
later, Premier Christy Clark was promising a major upgrade and renovation of St. Paul's Hospital saying there was half a billion dollars in the 2012 budget for the job. And, of course, in neighbouring Burnaby a planning committee is gathering input for redevelopment of that hospital.
NDP naysayers say the announcements are pure political propaganda intended to boost the Liberals' sagging popularity. And, there's o question that the announcement for CH seems a bit premature given that othing concrete would really happen at the most optimistic - for at least five to seven years. But de Jong also gave RCH a 150-day deadline to reduce waiting times. And, yes, we've heard those promises before as well.
But the reality is that no matter which political party is in power during the next 10 to 20 years, hospitals and health care will be critical.
The baby boomer generation is about to peak - and all those aging hips and knees will put a huge strain on the system. Combine that with a potential mini baby boom, and we may all be looking back at today's surgery wait-lists and emergency room traffic jams with fond memories.
The question isn't whether the Liberals are serious or not about these announcements. The question is: can taxpayers afford several massive hospital redevelopments in the near future?
Our guess is that neither political party wants to tell taxpayers that there's a massive price tag coming down the line - unless they can blame it on the other party.