“It ain’t over ‘til it’s over” has been a rallying cry for individuals or teams of individuals striving for what appears to be a lost cause. It is a great truth, a final “never say die” appeal to team mates in a final sports championship contest, or a rallying cry for a group of workers seeking well justified recognition from a seemingly indifferent government.
If you like historic time lines it was first uttered by American baseball legend Yogi Berra in 1937 when his team appeared set to make an early departure from the National League playoffs. The challenge worked, the team rallied and won the series. Yogi didn’t invent the thinking. Credit for that should go to Robert Bruce, King of Scotland (1306-1329) who, according to legend still taught in British schools, watched a spider trying to swing a single anchor strand for a new web across a corner of a cave.
Six times the spider tried. Six times it failed and Bruce made a vow that if the spider tried a seventh time and succeeded he would continue his fight against the English. Having fought the Brits six times and lost he would regard the results of the seventh attempt as a message from the gods. If the spider failed he would give up the fight. On the seventh swing the spider made it and “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again” was added to the Bruce legend. Some 600 years later Yogi Berra gave it a sharpened 20th Century twist.
That long preamble brings me the tough battle being fought by BC Ambulance Service Paramedics as they try to gain official recognition of their work as an essential service. No one has any doubt that the work of paramedics as first responders is without question a recognized essential service, but successive governments in BC have been reluctant to give that incredibly stressful profession official status.
In recent weeks I have written several blogs lamenting that lack of decisive action and the long overdue recognition for a paramedic service that stands shoulder to shoulder with police and firefighters on first responder action lines – but still lacks essential service recognition.
It remains a mystery to me that both right wing and left wing governments – Social Credit, NDP and Liberal – have ignored and continue to ignore the people who clean up the blood and gore after highway accidents, bind up fearful injuries, are front and centre in the opiod addiction battle, are in constant demand by our aging population – and have probably saved the lives of more stroke and heart attack victims than doctors.
I know thousands have signed a petition asking for essential service recognition for presentation to whichever political party is in power after May 9. But to be successful it must contain the signatures of at least 10 per cent of the registered voters in each of BC’s 85 electoral districts. In 2013, there were 3.1 million registered voters province wide. Only 57 per cent voted. That doesn’t change the threshold target of 10 per cent of those registered to vote, even those who for whatever reason decided not to exercise that privilege and stayed home.
So, it is a tough target to meet and sign up continues until only until mid-April when the 90-day vote collecting period expires and our paramedics will know whether they have met the 10 per cent threshold.
If you haven’t yet voted ask the next paramedic you see where you can, or check out firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have voted, but would like to add a little voter muscle to the cause take a few minutes to fire an e-mail to Premier Christy Clark at email@example.com and NDP leader John Horgan at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask if they would commit to introduce a Fire, Police and Paramedics Essential Services Amendment Act at the first sitting of the Legislature after the election whatever the percentage of petitioners. Let them know their answer will guide your vote.
And remember, however tough the battle “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” Remember that Bruce and the spider got it right and that “the power of one” can be a formidable force when it’s multiplied.