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Penticton  

Ex-top doc running for MLA

A doctor who made waves in the South Okanagan medical community is stepping into the political arena.

Dr. Peter Entwistle stepped down earlier this week as the South Okanagan General Hospital’s chief of staff, citing concerns over the number of beds in the hospital. Now he’s running as an independent candidate for the Boundary-Similkameen riding.

“I feel really strongly about health care issues and I feel that this is an opportunity to address the local issues of hospital beds and ER closures,” he said. “Also, to bring health into a broader context throughout the province and just to raise those issues. There’s a lot of things wrong with our health-care system.”

Entwistle adds that running as a candidate on health-care issues could take the problem of hospital beds and health care beyond the daily news cycle.

“If I just resigned and said things aren’t right, then that’s a bit like me just sort of having a sob and having little paddy,” Entwistle said. “It’ll be a news item for a day or two, and then it’s just business as usual.”

Because health care reaches into many aspects of life and governance, Entwistle believes he is well suited for the job.

“Whether you’re looking at pollution or national parks or social services, taxes, it all comes down to health. Health service is all-encompassing,” he said.

“A good health-care system doesn’t just look at hospitals and doctors and nurses and medicine. It looks at the broader, more holistic aspects of health, as well.”

Before Entwistle can officially run, he’s got some paperwork to do, and he needs 75 signatures from nominators in the riding. As of Wednesday night, Entwistle says he was close to having enough signatures.

Running for election without a partisan banner to flag voters can be difficult, but Entwistle says he has a chance as an independent in this election.

“I feel strongly and I’m confident I’ve got people around me that can support me who have a degree of expertise,” he said. “I don’t think that the current MLA has the confidence of the people, or, in truth, should have the confidence of the people, so yeah, I think I’ve got a good chance.”

Entwistle’s campaign hasn’t kicked off, yet, and it may take some time, as he attempts to fit it between his work in the emergency room and in his private practice.

When it does take off, he will be facing opposition from three other candidates – incumbent BC Liberal MLA Linda Larson, BC NDP candidate Colleen Ross and recently announced BC Green Party candidate Vonnie Lavers.

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