Protesters take to the hill

Barb Sweet & James McLeod
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St. Anthony protesters ejected from House

A group of protesters upset over the relocation of the air ambulance service from St. Anthony to Goose Bay were ejected from the public gallery at the legislature Monday.

The protesters had moved into the gallery for the afternoon sitting of the House of Assembly after waiting a few hours to hear back about a request to meet with Premier Danny Williams, which was denied.

Five-year-old Makenna Patey of St. Anthony holds a poster with a photo of her at two years old when she was a patient at the Janeway Children's Hospital. She was at Confederation Building in St. John's Monday with her mother Olivia Patey and other St. Ant

A group of protesters upset over the relocation of the air ambulance service from St. Anthony to Goose Bay were ejected from the public gallery at the legislature Monday.

The protesters had moved into the gallery for the afternoon sitting of the House of Assembly after waiting a few hours to hear back about a request to meet with Premier Danny Williams, which was denied.

The group remained mostly quiet through question period, while both opposition parties asked government to reconsider the move and conduct a new study of the province's air ambulance service.

But Health Minister Jerome Kennedy said he wouldn't be changing his mind.

"What I will say to the people here today, is our decision is made, there will be no review, the air ambulance will be transferred to Happy Valley-Goose Bay as soon as possible," he said.

Shortly after question period ended, protesters were cleared from the House's public gallery after they shouted down at the MHAs.

In the lobby of Confederation Building, they shouted and called Williams a dictator.

"This is absolutely disgraceful that we would travel all the way from St. Anthony and (Williams) wouldn't give us five minutes of his time," Judy Ward said.

"I really do believe that when he went down to Florida (to have heart surgery), he must have left his heart down there. He must have, and his brain besides."

The St. Anthony area residents and their supporters began their public protest on the steps of Confederation Building at 10 a.m. Monday.

Maurice Simmonds, president of St. Anthony's Chamber of Commerce, said the premier's office kept stalling and people were pretty emotional by the time they went to the public gallery to listen to question period.

"It was despicable to see the ignorance," Simmonds said of the heckling on the government side.

"You could see how cold and callous they were about this."

Same problem, different place

Simmonds said moving the plane to Goose Bay will just reverse the geography of problems that already exist with timely access.

The group argues if Labrador needs a plane, it should have one, but a medevac team should be located in St. Anthony.

Simmonds said the group wants a meeting with Williams because they say Kennedy won't listen to their concerns.

"He's just too cold and ignorant to talk to," Simmonds said of Kennedy, but added Finance Minister Tom Marshall "had the decency" to talk to the protesters in the hallway.

Standing on the steps of Confederation Building Monday morning, five-year-old Makenna Patey was quick to describe her feelings about the provincial government's decision to pull the air ambulance service from St. Anthony.

"Bad," said Patey, who at age two was put aboard the air ambulance for an emergency trip to the Janeway Hospital in St. John's where she spent a month recovering from collapsed lungs.

"She became a miracle story on the Janeway telethon," said her mother, Olivia Patey.

"I really, truly believe there wasn't enough time for the Janeway team to come out and get her," Olivia Patey said, adding Makenna eventually made a full recovery.

"When I first arrived at the Janeway, I asked the doctors if she would live and they couldn't tell me."

Photographs of Patey hooked up to a drainage tube at the Janeway were depicted on some posters as several dozen people from St. Anthony and their supporters protested government's decision Monday morning.

They shouted "no way Goose Bay" and "bring back medevac."

The protesters say the decision to move the service to Goose Bay is based on a flawed report and is a mistake far worse than the one government acknowledged when it accidentally expropriated the Abitibi Mill in Grand Falls-Windsor.

"The very least it can do is commission a more impartial, all-encompassing report (on air ambulance services)," said Michele Shears-Rumbolt.

"It is not right to make a decision based on a report that a kindergartener could have written."

NDP backs protestors

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael told the crowd she doesn't agree with government using politics to make health decisions.

"I hope when the premier gets this message when he hears you on these steps ... and hears me standing in solidarity with you, he doesn't call this our being holier than thou," Michael said.

"If standing for social justice in this province for everybody is being holier than thou, then be it in your face Mr. Premier."

"We know (the decision) is fundamentally wrong based on politics and flawed information. No one's got to wonder anymore why (former Straits - White Bay North MHA and Tory cabinet minister) Trevor Taylor took off in a hurry," said Liberal Leader Yvonne Jones.

Organizations: MHAs, Chamber of Commerce, Janeway Hospital Abitibi Mill

Geographic location: St. Anthony, Goose Bay, Happy Valley Florida Labrador St. John's Grand Falls-Windsor

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Recent comments

  • Oh,no...
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    I think it is time for Mr. Kennedy to step down. He keeps making mistakes that affect the people of the province...he obviously has no conscience. He keeps moving from post to post, leaving a trail of damage as he goes. The plane must stay where it can BEST serve the PROVINCE...ST.ANTHONY!!!

  • Maggie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Wow 'Give it a rest', if that is indeed your real name...you sound like a shoe in for the current government. You certainly have their same mindset. Have you considered submitting your resume? I bet there's a portfolio sitting idle somewhere with your name written all over it!

  • CB
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Utterly disgraceful! For Jerome Kennedy, an elected representative of the people, to behave like this. I find it absolutely appalling.

  • Give it
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Well thats just great that this kid lived due to the air ambulance being in his back yard. Now go tell the people in Labrador City and Wabush that those that died there due to not having the same access are of lesser value.

    How about you folks look at this as equal access rather then being overlooked. You will now have the same response time as the rest of the province, or are you just better?

  • CFA
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    It looks like people are tripping over themselves to prove you right, Polly.

  • member of the 20%
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Strange perspective Tom. They looked like emotionally charged taxpayers with a legitimate concern for their well being. They are obviously disallusioned by this Tory dictatorship that repeatedly punishes anyone who opposes it. Imagine if the Confed bldg, Health Sciences, all govt departments moved outta sin jawhns; wouldnt' there be an outcry? These people are simply trying to hold onto a critical benefit in their region. The only idiots I saw on the news were Dan, Jerome, Tom and the bobbleheads.

  • David
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    The problem is that the Air Ambulance service should have never been in St. Antony in the first place. The likelihood of someone getting seriously injured in an industrial accident in St. Antony is a whole lot less then it is in Wasbush or Voisey's. What is the land based industry in St. Antony? I don't believe there is any. This Air Ambulance move should have been made long ago. Please no flip flopping on this issue Minister Kennedy.

  • b
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    1. They moved the ambulance for political reason and nothing else, if you read the report it is nonsense. br br 2. There should be an ambulance in Labrador and one on the Nothern Pen br br 3. The impact to the local economy is this, 14 of the highest paying jobs in the region. In a town of 3000 people that is about 0.5%, if you relate similar numbers to a region like say I don't know the Greater St. Johns area, that would be about 1000 of the highest paying jobs, imagine laying off 1000 oil and gas workers in the St. John's area, there would be more tears on the news than you seen last night br br Give me a break, Ignorance, pure ignorance.... br br ============================================================ br br Aha, so there it is. You make the case for keeping the air ambulance in St. Anthony for the high paying jobs. It isn't about public safety at all, and your not the first person from St. Anthony to state that.

  • Pierre Neary
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    A second plane should have been secured for HV/GB. This is just another shining example of this administration playing politics with healthcare as they did during the by-election. The game of pitting one community against another is taking away from the fact that the service is inadequate and people have lost their lives because of it. The Mayor of St. Anthony better not hold his breath, rural NL has been decimated by this government even with mostly PC representation around the island

  • Busy Bayman
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    I hear ya there Donny!! And Give it a Rest is also right. The crying by the young woman on the news last night was unbelievable. Made me laugh anyways....

  • D-Man
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Well here's how I see it,

    1. They moved the ambulance for political reason and nothing else, if you read the report it is nonsense.

    2. There should be an ambulance in Labrador and one on the Nothern Pen

    3. The impact to the local economy is this, 14 of the highest paying jobs in the region. In a town of 3000 people that is about 0.5%, if you relate similar numbers to a region like say I don't know the Greater St. Johns area, that would be about 1000 of the highest paying jobs, imagine laying off 1000 oil and gas workers in the St. John's area, there would be more tears on the news than you seen last night

    Give me a break, Ignorance, pure ignorance....

  • Tom
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    They looked like idiots on the news. Every one of them. Crying. Idiots.

  • Polly
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    How wonderful it is to see the beautiful people of The Northern Peninsula coming together to fight for what is rightfully theirs . Their tears , their anger , their frustration , all hallmarks of a truly alive and caring people . How much better to have theses people amongst us than the shallow , soulless creatures here , who are nameless , faceless cowards .

  • John Smith
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    If they have the money to charter a plane to come to St. John's for a protest, then why don't they charter a plane when they need to fly someone to town for medical reasons. It's not like St. Anthony is next to the Artic circle, they do have a hospital there, and it's only a few hrs' drive to CB. A lot of theatrics if you ask me. Not to mention that the PC gov. invested hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars over the last few years, only to have them turn around ans spit in the face of gov. What do these dupes expect, that electing Dean would be good for their district???Give me a break.

  • Mike
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    What a bunch of whiners. And now your getting kids to cry on television in trying to get support. Cheap trick -- you all should be ashamed. You give out-port people like me a bad name.

  • Bones
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    What I noticed is that someone was actually cute enough to put a poster sized picture, of their very own critically ill child, front and center to make a political point and attempt to do exactly what they accused the MHA's and Premier of doing to them - intimidate, bully, and dictate what will happen to this air ambulance service. Those people o the news set themselves back ten-fold on this issue. If it's purely political, as some posters claim it to be, surely it's time to call in your Marshall, lol. That's why he was elected, correct?

  • Pat
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    I don't believe the Minister of Health went far enough, not only should he move the air ambulance, but these people should be forced to move to civilization.
    What a drain on Mr.Williams and his Government .

  • DB
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    So if this is so all god wrong does it make sense if you have an emergency in Labrador that you have to fly away from the island to pickup this person. Then fly right back past where you have came from in the first place to deliver them to a hospital here on the island.I guess fuel must be cheap in there neck of the island seems to make good sense that the would same time and money traveling towards the island then flying away from it.

  • b
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    One Northern Pen resident was heard on a news program to say that the Williams government would not get one vote from that district.

    Seeing as that a lieberal, Dean Marshall, was elected in the bi-election a few months ago, isn't this a moot point to make?

    There is no industry on the northern pen, unless you count make work projects and EI as industries. Close the road north of St. Barbe and relocate the whole lot of them.

  • Cynthia
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Give It Rest is so right. My thoughts exactly when I seen this on the new last night. The crying woman was just ridiculous.
    What about the people in Labrador that have lost their lives because the Air Ambulance was too slow to get them.
    I say to most people in St. Anthony grow up and stop using your children on posters! Shameful.

  • Donny
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    This 'crying for the TV cameras' was a little over the top wasn't it? If you think it's too risky living in St. Anthony without an air ambulance...move! It's 2010 & there's no reason to be living that far north anyway.

  • member of the 20%
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    With pressure on, EH in shambles; CNA not much better; dispute with doctors; the Grand Falls fiasco; protests from St. Anthony...what does Little Man Dan do...hopped a flight outta here this morning! Saw him at airport departure lounge today. Wait Dan, you forgot something...take Jeromey and Tom with you! Every puppeteer needs his puppets!

  • Wanda
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    The entire province is served by the air ambulance based in St. Anthony, not just St. Anthony itself. St. Anthony is central to the entire province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Removing the air ambulance from the island portion of the province places a higher number of people at a greater distance from the Medevac services, even Jerome should be able to work with those numbers and get it right. I wonder which cause Danny will move Jerome to next when he screws this one up. Jerome seemed like a guy with a good head on his shoulders first when he entered politics but this last couple of years he has undone all the good from first couple of years. I support Danny's government on many issues but this is just crazy politics, moves like these will show a decline in Danny's popularity and rightly so. If the province is a have province by all means spend the money to put an extra service in Labrador, don't jeapardize people's lives to prove power!!!

  • Joseph
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Polly Pickford from NL rightfully theirs ? Wow ! It is SOOOO not rightfully theirs, it's the taxpayers' of this province. What a stance of entitlement from Polly the Nose-picker !!! Unbelievable !!! Although, Big ol' Labrador should have their own aircraft to service their own.

  • Oh,no...
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    I think it is time for Mr. Kennedy to step down. He keeps making mistakes that affect the people of the province...he obviously has no conscience. He keeps moving from post to post, leaving a trail of damage as he goes. The plane must stay where it can BEST serve the PROVINCE...ST.ANTHONY!!!

  • Maggie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Wow 'Give it a rest', if that is indeed your real name...you sound like a shoe in for the current government. You certainly have their same mindset. Have you considered submitting your resume? I bet there's a portfolio sitting idle somewhere with your name written all over it!

  • CB
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    Utterly disgraceful! For Jerome Kennedy, an elected representative of the people, to behave like this. I find it absolutely appalling.

  • Give it
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    Well thats just great that this kid lived due to the air ambulance being in his back yard. Now go tell the people in Labrador City and Wabush that those that died there due to not having the same access are of lesser value.

    How about you folks look at this as equal access rather then being overlooked. You will now have the same response time as the rest of the province, or are you just better?

  • CFA
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    It looks like people are tripping over themselves to prove you right, Polly.

  • member of the 20%
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    Strange perspective Tom. They looked like emotionally charged taxpayers with a legitimate concern for their well being. They are obviously disallusioned by this Tory dictatorship that repeatedly punishes anyone who opposes it. Imagine if the Confed bldg, Health Sciences, all govt departments moved outta sin jawhns; wouldnt' there be an outcry? These people are simply trying to hold onto a critical benefit in their region. The only idiots I saw on the news were Dan, Jerome, Tom and the bobbleheads.

  • David
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    The problem is that the Air Ambulance service should have never been in St. Antony in the first place. The likelihood of someone getting seriously injured in an industrial accident in St. Antony is a whole lot less then it is in Wasbush or Voisey's. What is the land based industry in St. Antony? I don't believe there is any. This Air Ambulance move should have been made long ago. Please no flip flopping on this issue Minister Kennedy.

  • b
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    1. They moved the ambulance for political reason and nothing else, if you read the report it is nonsense. br br 2. There should be an ambulance in Labrador and one on the Nothern Pen br br 3. The impact to the local economy is this, 14 of the highest paying jobs in the region. In a town of 3000 people that is about 0.5%, if you relate similar numbers to a region like say I don't know the Greater St. Johns area, that would be about 1000 of the highest paying jobs, imagine laying off 1000 oil and gas workers in the St. John's area, there would be more tears on the news than you seen last night br br Give me a break, Ignorance, pure ignorance.... br br ============================================================ br br Aha, so there it is. You make the case for keeping the air ambulance in St. Anthony for the high paying jobs. It isn't about public safety at all, and your not the first person from St. Anthony to state that.

  • Pierre Neary
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    A second plane should have been secured for HV/GB. This is just another shining example of this administration playing politics with healthcare as they did during the by-election. The game of pitting one community against another is taking away from the fact that the service is inadequate and people have lost their lives because of it. The Mayor of St. Anthony better not hold his breath, rural NL has been decimated by this government even with mostly PC representation around the island

  • Busy Bayman
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    I hear ya there Donny!! And Give it a Rest is also right. The crying by the young woman on the news last night was unbelievable. Made me laugh anyways....

  • D-Man
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    Well here's how I see it,

    1. They moved the ambulance for political reason and nothing else, if you read the report it is nonsense.

    2. There should be an ambulance in Labrador and one on the Nothern Pen

    3. The impact to the local economy is this, 14 of the highest paying jobs in the region. In a town of 3000 people that is about 0.5%, if you relate similar numbers to a region like say I don't know the Greater St. Johns area, that would be about 1000 of the highest paying jobs, imagine laying off 1000 oil and gas workers in the St. John's area, there would be more tears on the news than you seen last night

    Give me a break, Ignorance, pure ignorance....

  • Tom
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    They looked like idiots on the news. Every one of them. Crying. Idiots.

  • Polly
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    How wonderful it is to see the beautiful people of The Northern Peninsula coming together to fight for what is rightfully theirs . Their tears , their anger , their frustration , all hallmarks of a truly alive and caring people . How much better to have theses people amongst us than the shallow , soulless creatures here , who are nameless , faceless cowards .

  • John Smith
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    If they have the money to charter a plane to come to St. John's for a protest, then why don't they charter a plane when they need to fly someone to town for medical reasons. It's not like St. Anthony is next to the Artic circle, they do have a hospital there, and it's only a few hrs' drive to CB. A lot of theatrics if you ask me. Not to mention that the PC gov. invested hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars over the last few years, only to have them turn around ans spit in the face of gov. What do these dupes expect, that electing Dean would be good for their district???Give me a break.

  • Mike
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    What a bunch of whiners. And now your getting kids to cry on television in trying to get support. Cheap trick -- you all should be ashamed. You give out-port people like me a bad name.

  • Bones
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    What I noticed is that someone was actually cute enough to put a poster sized picture, of their very own critically ill child, front and center to make a political point and attempt to do exactly what they accused the MHA's and Premier of doing to them - intimidate, bully, and dictate what will happen to this air ambulance service. Those people o the news set themselves back ten-fold on this issue. If it's purely political, as some posters claim it to be, surely it's time to call in your Marshall, lol. That's why he was elected, correct?

  • Pat
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    I don't believe the Minister of Health went far enough, not only should he move the air ambulance, but these people should be forced to move to civilization.
    What a drain on Mr.Williams and his Government .

  • DB
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    So if this is so all god wrong does it make sense if you have an emergency in Labrador that you have to fly away from the island to pickup this person. Then fly right back past where you have came from in the first place to deliver them to a hospital here on the island.I guess fuel must be cheap in there neck of the island seems to make good sense that the would same time and money traveling towards the island then flying away from it.

  • b
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    One Northern Pen resident was heard on a news program to say that the Williams government would not get one vote from that district.

    Seeing as that a lieberal, Dean Marshall, was elected in the bi-election a few months ago, isn't this a moot point to make?

    There is no industry on the northern pen, unless you count make work projects and EI as industries. Close the road north of St. Barbe and relocate the whole lot of them.

  • Cynthia
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Give It Rest is so right. My thoughts exactly when I seen this on the new last night. The crying woman was just ridiculous.
    What about the people in Labrador that have lost their lives because the Air Ambulance was too slow to get them.
    I say to most people in St. Anthony grow up and stop using your children on posters! Shameful.

  • Donny
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    This 'crying for the TV cameras' was a little over the top wasn't it? If you think it's too risky living in St. Anthony without an air ambulance...move! It's 2010 & there's no reason to be living that far north anyway.

  • member of the 20%
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    With pressure on, EH in shambles; CNA not much better; dispute with doctors; the Grand Falls fiasco; protests from St. Anthony...what does Little Man Dan do...hopped a flight outta here this morning! Saw him at airport departure lounge today. Wait Dan, you forgot something...take Jeromey and Tom with you! Every puppeteer needs his puppets!

  • Wanda
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    The entire province is served by the air ambulance based in St. Anthony, not just St. Anthony itself. St. Anthony is central to the entire province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Removing the air ambulance from the island portion of the province places a higher number of people at a greater distance from the Medevac services, even Jerome should be able to work with those numbers and get it right. I wonder which cause Danny will move Jerome to next when he screws this one up. Jerome seemed like a guy with a good head on his shoulders first when he entered politics but this last couple of years he has undone all the good from first couple of years. I support Danny's government on many issues but this is just crazy politics, moves like these will show a decline in Danny's popularity and rightly so. If the province is a have province by all means spend the money to put an extra service in Labrador, don't jeapardize people's lives to prove power!!!

  • Joseph
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Polly Pickford from NL rightfully theirs ? Wow ! It is SOOOO not rightfully theirs, it's the taxpayers' of this province. What a stance of entitlement from Polly the Nose-picker !!! Unbelievable !!! Although, Big ol' Labrador should have their own aircraft to service their own.