Gary Hee hopes to build on the success of his B.C. petition against pay parking at ERs by taking it Canada-wide. File photo

Campaign against Langley ER parking fees goes national

Organizer of B.C. campaign hopes to harvest at least 50,000 signatures from Canadians on e-petition

Encouraged by the response to his Langley-based petition for free parking at hospital ERs, Gary Hee is expanding his campaign to include all of Canada.

“I figure if I wanted to cover Western Canada, we would have to do it federally,” Hee told the Langley Advance Times.

Since April 12, he has been circulating a petition among Langley residents that calls on the provincial government, Langley Memorial Hospital Board and the mayors and councils of the City and Township of Langley “to 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.”

Hee set a goal of 2,500, only to see the numbers top 3,500.

His decision to launch a Canada-wide campaign, is partly a reaction to reports from other provinces where hospitals charge for parking.

“In Ontario, at one hospital, people are parking a shopping centre parking lot and walking across a football sized field in the winter to save money,” Hee recounted.

“It’s just not right.”

Another motivating factor was learning the revenue from hospital pay parking runs into the millions of dollars.

“It’s irritating,” Hee said.

He plans to launch his e-petition online in September, when members of parliament are expected to return to Ottawa, urging them to support his proposal to have no charge for the first four hours of parking at a hospital ER.

He’s hoping to raise 50,000 signatures, a goal he believes is possible “if we can get all of Canada to come on board with this idea.”

“I will do the best I can, give it a try for three months and see how it goes,” Hee said.

He is still accepting signature on the original petition.

Hee is hoping to find some volunteers to work on the petition drive, to bolster what has been a one-person crusade up till now.

“It gets exhausting after a while,” Hee admitted.

READ MORE: Campaign against Langley hospital parking fees reaches goal of 2,500 signatures

The proposed federal petition argues parliament has the right to intervene because the parking management companies running hospital parking lots “operate inter-provincially and are private companies in Canada or elsewhere …”

“We , the undersigned citizens of all Canadian provinces and northern territories, including all First Nations, hereby petition the Canadian Parliament … to implement ways and means to remove parking fees placed upon us, including disabled persons, or on our personal vehicles while attending any Canadian hospital emergency department premises for medical reasons during and up to a four hour period in standard emergency cases or between four to eight hours in trauma emergency cases.”

Hee worked on the FightHST petition campaign in 2009, and launched his own petition campaign for a crosswalk at the corner of 72nd Avenue and 196th Street on the Surrey-Langley border in 2014.

There were a few roadblocks on the road to 3,500 names.

Hee said he was ordered off the premises when he tried to get signatures at Langley Memorial Hospital, and some seniors homes did the same.

At the time, Fraser Health spokesperson Tasleem Juma explained the health authority has a policy against such activity because it needs to ensure patients, visitors and employees can easily access the hospital for care.

“People who wish to sell products, distribute materials or in this case, have a petition signed, are asked to be offsite,” Juma said.

“This usually means on the sidewalk across the street, so it doesn’t interfere with patient access,” she added.

After that, Hee took his campaign to local sidewalks parking lots, using his truck as a mobile billboard, as well as using his website http://garybhee.ca.

.

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

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

Just Posted

Canadian police to make home visits to enforce mandatory quarantine for travellers

Police forces have been asked to help verify Canadians are complying with the Quarantine Act

VIDEO: North Otter teachers throw ‘emotional’ parade for cooped-up students

North Otter Elementary is the latest Langley school to tell its students: ‘We miss you’

Stop dropping off donations outside closed stores and bins, Salvation Army says

Organization remains closed due to coronavirus pandemic

RCMP turn to bikes to patrol business districts

Empty stores could be a target for thieves

Cancellations of plant orders prompt advent of pop-up garden shops

A Langley nursery is partnering with local eateries to sell 40 acres of veggie plants and flowers

VIDEO: Easter festivities may be scaled back, but it can still be a fun holiday

COVID-19 circumstances have dictated that the holidays may not be perfect

B.C. jails grant early release for close to 100 inmates due to COVID-19

The move, which impacts offenders serving intermittent sentences, is to prevent spread of virus

COVID-19 world update: U.S. to start antibody tests; drones enforce lockdown in Italy

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news from around the world

Lower Mainland hunting store sees 200% increase in firearm sales

Co-owner of Wanstalls says increase due to a variety of reasons

People needing addiction services feeling ‘abandoned’ during pandemic

The province is trying to increase access to addiction care through a phone line of experts, doctors

COVID-19: B.C. ER nurse self-isolates in travel trailer, apart from family

Marcia Kent says situation is difficult but worth it to keep twin boys safe

B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Will include virtual clinics and resources for British Columbians, including front-line workers

B.C.’s COVID-19 rent supplement starts taking applications

$300 to $500 to landlords for April, May and June if eligible

Reality TV show about bodybuilders still filming in Okanagan, amid COVID-19

Five bodybuilders from across the country flew to Kelowna to move into a house for a reality TV show

Most Read