October 30, 2018 5:59 pm

N.B. Acadian Society launches petition to cancel ambulance management contract

A New Brunswick ambulance is seen in this undated file photograph.

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The New Brunswick Acadian Society [SANB] is calling on the provincial government to cancel the ambulance management contract with Medavie.

The society has launched a petition calling for the government to end its 10-year contract with the company.

SANB spokesperson Eric Dow says the petition is the result of a combination of events over the past two years.

“What we’re seeing here on the ground in New Brunswick is there seems to be a loss of confidence in services that are provided by Ambulance New Brunswick,” Dow said.

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READ MORE: 13-year-old boy dies in ATV crash in New Brunswick

The petition comes just days Ambulance New Brunswick came under fire for a reported 40-minute response to a fatal ATV crash near the community of Haut-Lameque. A 13-year-old boy died as a result.

But Dow says the petition is not the result of one specific event, but rather the “cumulative effect of many events over the course of the last few years.”

“The population has had enough,” Dow stated. “There’s a real problem when people in cases of emergency ask themselves, ‘Well, should I drive myself to the hospital or should I call an ambulance?’”

“There needs to be a change and the problem needs to be seriously addressed by government.”

READ MORE: Blaine Higgs promises quick fix to New Brunswick paramedic shortage when he’s premier

New Brunswick Progressive Conservative leader Blaine Higgs said last week that his first priority “when” he becomes premier will be to a find a solution to the province’s paramedic shortage.

“We will call in Medavie and tell them it is not acceptable that ambulances sit empty while families wait for urgent help,” Higgs said Thursday.

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People’s Alliance leader Kris Austin campaigned on the promise to bring efficiency in the delivery of services and not just what is known as “duality,” particularly in health and education.

But Dow says political discourse is making bilingualism a “scapegoat” for problems the province is facing.

“When you look at problems that are arising in different jurisdictions,” said Dow, “you can see that this problem isn’t limited to New Brunswick, and it also extends to other jurisdictions that aren’t bilingual.”

“Our problems can’t be explained just by pointing our finger at official bilingualism.”

The petition garnered over 200 signatures on the day it was released.

— With files from The Canadian Press. 

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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