Kevin Falcon refused to build medical school in Surrey when he was Health Minister

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Yesterday, Premier David Eby announced action to build a medical school in Surrey, a project that Kevin Falcon refused to build when he was Health Minister.

In 2008 and 2009, the Fraser Health Authority and Simon Fraser University pushed Falcon and the B.C. Liberals to open a medical school in Surrey.

The CEO of the Fraser Health Authority said in 2008, “there is a real shortage of doctors and a medical school in this jurisdiction would be very complementary to that objective.”

But instead of saying yes to the medical school, Falcon kicked the can down the road. He said in 2009: “I don’t have even the most elemental knowledge of what it would cost and what’s involved… I would need to see the business case.”

Over the following year and a half that Falcon served as Health Minister, he refused to move forward on the project. He also refused to act when he was in charge of the government budget as Finance Minister in 2011 and 2012.

At the same time he was refusing to build the Surrey medical school, Falcon was failing on his promise to “provide every British Columbian who wants a family doctor with one by 2015.” Instead of getting all British Columbians a family doctor, the shortage got much worse.

The new medical school is the latest in a series of actions by David Eby and the B.C. NDP to tackle the doctor shortage. Last month, B.C. reached a historic deal to attract and retain family doctors. On Sunday, Eby announced he is tripling the capacity of the program to license internationally trained doctors to practice in Canada.

B.C. NDP Caucus Chair Jagrup Brar:

“If Kevin Falcon had approved the Surrey medical school 13 years ago when he had the chance, British Columbia would be much better off now. Instead, he prioritized tax giveaways for his wealthy friends while he refused to build the medical school and made aggressive cuts to hospitals. Kevin Falcon’s record shows he would make the doctor shortage worse, not better.”