The recall petition against Premier David Eby has failed.
Salvatore Vetro launched the petition on Jan. 17 against Eby over Bill 36, the Health Professions and Occupations Act, an act intended to spark sweeping changes to the oversight of medical professionals in the province.
According to Elections BC, necessary paperwork was not filed in time for the March 20 deadline.
Vetro’s initial submission to Elections BC appears to draw a comparison between Eby and the former leaders of Nazi Germany, claiming Eby to be a dictator and predicting a collapse of the provincial health-care system unless the government repeals the bill.
Bill 36 — which has been the subject of considerable social media discussion, much of it conspiratorial — was passed in the fall by a multi-party committee. At its core, the act consolidates the number of health colleges from 15 to six, with board members being appointed by the government instead of through membership elections.
The act has received criticism from bodies representing medical professionals, including British Columbia Medical Association representing doctors. The association argued during the legislative process that the bill would threaten the autonomy of the profession, politicize college board decisions and raise costs.
Eby’s seat would have become vacant and Elections BC would have scheduled a by-election within 90 days, if 40 per cent, or 16,449, eligible voters in Eby’s riding of Vancouver-Point Grey had signed the petition, assuming verification of their signatures. Eby would have been allowed to run as a candidate in that by-election.
But such a date won’t appear on his calendar.
“I have no comment,” Vetro said, when asked about the outcome. He also declined to answer why he did not submit the paperwork by the deadline.
“Did you just hear what I said? I have said that I have no comment. That’s what you can put in your report.”
Vetro worked as a bus driver and is now pursuing a career in acting following his retirement. Vetro also ran as an independent candidate in Vancouver-Kensington during the 2020 provincial election, where he won 202, or less than one per cent, of the vote.
The Chief Electoral Officer has approved 27 previous petition applications since recall legislation came into force in 1995. Elections BC has received six of those petitions by the due date, but five did not have enough valid signatures. Vetro’s petition did not even make it to that stage.
“The failure of this petition is a sign of strong public support for David Eby and the action he is taking on the priorities that matter most to the people,” Nicholas Simons, BC New Democratic Party Caucus Chair said.
Simons added that B.C. is a great place to live but faces some real challenges as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and global inflation.