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Penticton  

He made health an issue

Boundary-Similkameen's Independent candidate Dr. Peter Entwistle kept an eye on the results of the election through sideways glances while working at the South Okanagan General Hospital's emergency department on Tuesday.

While B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan expended considerable resources in the sparsely populated riding, paying a visit at least twice during the campaign, the riding re-elected B.C. Liberal Party candidate Linda Larson for a second term, with 43 per cent of the vote. NDP candidate Colleen Ross followed at 33 per cent, while Entwistle finished with 14 per cent and B.C. Green Party candidate Vonnie Lavers finished with 10 per cent.

The hospital's former chief of staff made waves in the riding by resigning from the position in protest over potential removal of physical hospital beds and entering the race for that seat. And while Entwistle garnered just around 3,000 votes in the riding, he's calling it a success.

"It's amazing that a campaign that started so late, that was an independent campaign that had no resources was able to get so much support in such little time," he said. 

"That kind of implies that the issues that we were talking about struck a resonance and mattered to a lot of people."

Still, Entwistle says he's disappointed by not being elected MLA in the riding, but adds that his running and making a wave in the riding may inspire a more active role in protecting health services in the region from Larson.

"I'm hoping that she'll be able to work with the physicians and the health authority to address the issues at our hospital," he said. "I think we all accept that health is a big issue throughout the province, and we need a really good strategy to address the issues."

Now that the election is over, Entwistle says not campaigning is "a bit of a relief," as he wore several hats at various times throughout the election, including working as a doctor in the ER.

"I think (I will take) less of an activism role and more continuing to look to work with people to improve the health care for people in our communities," he said. "It's in my nature to lead by example."

One of the issues he wants to focus on, now, is that of addictions, as the overdose crisis continues to ravage the province.

Next up, he says he'll be heading to the RBC Cup for the Penticton Vees both as a fan and as a doctor.

"So, that's a silver lining of not winning the election."

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