Sparwood council is going to revisit a recent decision to not throw their support behind a request for support for no-cost prescription contraception.
On Oct. 6 the district council voted unanimously to acknowledge a letter received from the city of New Westminster without taking any further action, in a vote that many in the community felt was a missed opportunity to signal support for a popular campaign.
Since then, a community Facebook group has formed to lobby the council to publicly support no-cost prescription contraception, with the letter set to be revisited at the Oct. 20 council meeting.
The majority of responses to the initial report on the council’s handling of the letter were highly critical, with particular ire directed towards comments made during the council meeting about no-cost prescription contraception.
But Sparwood Mayor David Wilks said that the vote was a moot point, as a majority of municipalities in the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) - of which the District of Sparwood is a member - had endorsed calling on the provincial government to cover prescription contraception under the MSP at the recent UBCM convention.
“The problem was that we received the letter three weeks after UBCM from a municipality that didn’t even bother putting anything into UBCM,” said Wilks.
“What they should have done was seen that there were two resolutions going into UBCM from Burnaby and Victoria on the exact same thing and then left it alone. But by mailing it out to us, it means nothing, because those resolutions have already been passed. “
Wilks said that as the district was a member of UBCM, it had in fact supported the campaign for no-cost prescription contraception. “It’s already been dealt with.”
Wilks distanced the council from comments by Cr Ron Saad who had made remarks on free contraception that went unchallenged by other councillors at the Oct. 6 vote.
“Cr Saad, as a councillor for the district of Sparwood has his views … they are not those that anyone else on council may agree with, but what’s said is said, and I’m sure that Cr Saad has his reasons for saying that. But at the end of the day, the report provided by the city of New Westminster was filed and we move on.”
Cr. Amy Cardozo - who happens to be the only women on council for the current term - has said that she wanted the issue to be brought back to the attention of the council following a public backlash.
The letter from the City of New Westminster has been added to the agenda for the upcoming council meeting to be held on Oct. 20.
Cr Cardozo said the vote and the backlash was a learning experience, encouraging the public to stay up to date on the council agenda to see if matters being discussed resonate with individuals so they could let their representatives know how they wanted to be represented.
“This way, if you have concerns, questions or opinions regarding the content, you can reach out to me (or mayor and/or council) and a discussion can take place before the meeting and decisions take place,” said Cr Cardozo.
“I (we) don’t know your views unless they’re expressed. We were elected to represent YOUR views in our community so please, help us do that.”