Gary Hee, seen here in Fort Langley on Monday, Nov. 11, said he kept trying to wind down his petition for free hospital parking, but people would insist on adding their names, so he kept it going longer than planned. Now, he has sent it to Ottawa. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

What started as a B.C. campaign became a national issue, organizer said

A B.C. petition for free parking at all Canadian hospitals is now in the hands of Vancouver-Granville independent MP Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Organizer Gary Hee delivered a 4,291-signature petition to Wilson-Raybould on Thursday, Nov. 8, with a request that she raise the matter in the House of Commons.

“We’ll keep our fingers crossed,” Hee told the Langley Advance Times.

Hee has been collecting signatures since April 15th, and said he would have wrapped the campaign up sooner if it wasn’t for the continuing interest in the issue.

“People were saying they wanted to sign,” Hee explained.

His petition drive began as a demand that the Langley Memorial Hospital board and the mayors and councils of the City and Township of Langley “implement ways and means to collaborate to remove parking fees placed upon us or our vehicles while attending the hospital emergency department premises for medical reasons during and up to a four hour period.”

Over time, what was originally planned as a petition about pay parking at just one hospital expanded into a campaign aimed at all B.C. hospitals, then became a push for action on a national level.

Hee said he decided to expand the scope after talking to individuals in other communities who told him they were spending hundreds of dollars on parking a year because they have had to make multiple trips to the hospital, not just the ER, including people whose children have disabilities, or adults who have to have dialysis and people who have parents or relatives

“There are hospitals across Canada that are experiencing the same problem,” Hee commented.

Over the same period, his target number of signatures and his deadline for collecting names also grew from his initial goal of 2,500 by the time he turned 75 in July.

READ MORE: Campaign against hospital parking fees is gathering momentum: organizer

READ MORE: Hospital parking fee fight goes from Langley to PNE to Ottawa

Hee said any MP could take the petition to Ottawa, and he opted to go to a Vancouver MP rather than a Langley representative because of the defeat in the recent federal election of incumbent Cloverdale-Langley City Liberal MP John Aldag and the passing of Langley—Aldergrove Conservative MP Mark Warawa.

As a result, Hee said it wasn’t clear where the newly-elected Langley-area MPs, Conservatives Tamara Jansen and Tako van Popta, would be locating their offices, so he decided to present it to Wilson-Raybould, a former Liberal who was re-elected as an independent MP after a public split with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the SNC-Lavalin affair led to her dismissal from the Liberal caucus.

“Wilson-Raybould is my best choice since she was not defeated,” Hee said.

It will likely be the last campaign for Hee, a veteran of several previous petition efforts, among them working for the FightHST petition campaign in 2009, launching his own petition campaigns, for a crosswalk at the corner of 72nd Avenue and 196th Street on the Surrey-Langley border in 2014, and another against against bridge tolls in 2017.

“It was a pleasure to do it,” he said.

Hee has emphatically ruled out accepting andy more signatures on the parking issue, now that the petition has been filed.

“It’s closed.”



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Scholarship receives funds from KIJHL

Launched in September, the scholarship is available to all KIJHL players

Summerland steam railway to mark 25th anniversary

Kettle Valley Steam Railway has received support from community

UPDATE: One deceased after serious collision on Hwy 97 near Summerland

Southbound vehicle lost control, entered northbound lanes, hit by a transport truck.

Harlem Globetrotters’ Hops Pearce is pumped to bring show to Penticton

Less than two weeks to get your tickets to see Globetrotters’ high-flying stunts

Okanagan health care community mourns loss of long-time hospital director

Ken Jarrard dedicated his life in Penticton to health care; he passed away today at age 92.

WATCH: Don’t just blame AIM, all North Okanagan road crews struggling

City streets are just as bad, if not worse, than highways

Woman convicted in Salmon Arm love triangle murder granted escorted temporary absences

Monica Sikorski was 17 when she plotted shooting death of 22-year-old Tyler Myers

Oliver Health Centre celebrates expansion of ER

B.C.’s Minister of Health was in Oliver for the official opening of the improved emergency department

New book released on the untold Indigenous history of Revelstoke

Swift River is Laura Stovel’s fourth book

Vernon contractor owes company $105K for unpaid work in Yukon

Judge awards Nuway Crushing Ltd. for 2018 work on Haines Highway in Yukon

B.C. offers $5 million equipment loan program to help ailing forest contractors

Local politicians in Port McNeill and Campbell River says local economies are struggling

Vancouver Island distillery wins award for best Canadian rye whisky

Shelter Point cleans up at Canadian Whisky Awards

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

Crown won’t appeal sentence in child sex assault case of former Burns Lake mayor

B.C. Prosecution Service said sentence doesn’t meet standard for appeal

Most Read