Don't hold your breath waiting for a new hospital tower in the South Okanagan.
Premier Christy Clark stopped short of making any promises on Friday, when she made a surprise visit to Penticton Regional Hospital.
While she said all the right words for a great soundbite - "I'm going to tell the minister of health to get moving on the business case. . . . I'm going to kick down those barriers, and we are going to get the next stage of this process moving" - the bottom line is she didn't say much.
Basically, it amounted to: vote the Liberals back into power, and maybe I might consider possibly doing something down the road - if the funding is available.
Penticton's 60-year-old hospital is in sore need of an upgrade. Vernon's and Kelowna's hospitals have both received major expansions. PRH is overdue for one.
Even if the Liberals pull off a comeback and win the election, a new hospital is a long way off. It probably wouldn't open for at least another couple of years.
Local proponents want a new ambulatory care tower included in Tuesday's budget. That's unlikely to happen, given the Liberals' promise to balance the books.
But dangling carrots in front of voters' noses is an age-old political tactic. And if it gets the Okanagan a new hospital, who cares? At least it appears to be on government's radar.
Of course, we could have a new government by May, in which case we start all over again.
- Managing Editor