Tom Badcock appeared in Supreme Court Monday. — Photo by James McLeod/The Telegram
Tom Badcock will get his day in court to argue that parking fees at hospitals are illegal.
During a brief appearance in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court, Badcock represented himself Monday morning, and Justice Valerie Marshall set Feb. 15 as the date for the issue to be hashed out in court.
Badcock, a cancer patient, has been fighting Eastern Health over parking fees at the Health Sciences Centre in St. John’s.
He told reporters his position essentially boils down to the fact the Canada Health Act says people cannot be charged a fee for health-care service, and by charging for parking, the hospital effectively creates a cost for patients.
“I have no idea what the law is, all I know is what the Canada Health Act says,” Badcock said.
“The Canada Health Act says you can’t charge people to see your doctor. Whether there’s a separate law, I guess we’ll find out when Mr. Hogan (the Eastern Health lawyer) files his memorandum. Then I’ll see if there’s a specific law.”
“If there’s a specific law, then of course I may have to consult a lawyer, but up to this point, I see nothing other than the Canada Health Act itself, which has directed that there shall be no charges.”
Between now and his date in court, Badcock will deal with a flurry of other legal wrangling. Eastern Health is trying to get the case thrown out as an “abuse of process,” and Badcock has filed a separate application with the court, asking a judge to place an injunction on further parking fees at the hospital until the matter is settled.
Badcock told reporters Monday the issue of parking fees is a problem right across the country, and he cannot fathom why nobody has challenged them before.
“In Toronto, I believe, it costs $54 a day to park at a hospital. That’s absolutely ridiculous,” he said. “I have no idea why nobody has challenged it. I know a lot of people have complained about it, and why some lawyer hasn’t picked up on it, I don’t know. Because lawyers get sick, their families get sick.”
A spokeswoman for Eastern Health said that the health authority is working its way through the court system, but from what they can tell, there’s “no basis” for the legal challenge.
Badcock said he’s not worried about the fact that he’s representing himself.
“This is all an administrative process. I’ve been an administrator and a manager my entire life,” he said. “I have the rules of the Supreme Court just the same as a lawyer has. I can read them just as well as a lawyer can.”