Brother Can You Spare A Toonie 2009: Kelowna Striking

Brother can you spare a toonie

KELOWNA – Striking paramedics who have dogged Liberal Leader Gordon Campbell throughout the B.C.
election are demanding an apology – or at least more money – in response to a joke gone wrong. Mr. Campbell ruffled feathers when he tossed one of the paramedics a loonie during a stop in Vernon on April 30 during a brief exchange. Today, as Mr. Campbell stopped at a campaign event in Kelowna, the paramedics were on hand once again: “How about a toonie this time” asked one. Mr. Campbell did not hand out any cash this time: He later explained to reporters that he had meant the gesture as a friendly joke. One of the paramedics mentioned he wished he was making more money, and the Liberal Leader responded by tossing him a coin. “We actually joked about it, the group that was there,” Mr. Campbell said. “It was all done with good intention, I think most paramedics know that I think the work they do is great. I would love it if they could resolve these issues and I understand when you are in a negotiation sometimes there is heightened emotion.” The 3,500 members of the Ambulance Paramedics of B.C., deemed an essential service, have been limited in how they can pressure the government to settle the current strike. Throughout the campaign they have been visible at almost every pubic event Mr. Campbell attends, and the Liberal leader goes out of his way to speak to them each time. Usually the exchanges have been polite – Mr. Campbell even gave one paramedic a hug. But BJ Chute, a union spokesman, said the stunt with the loonie has offended his members.
“If it was a joke, it’s certainly not a very funny one. Not only the member he tossed the loonie at but my membership is very offended by this gesture. I think an apology is in order.”

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