Elections BC has approved a recall petition against Vancouver-Point Grey MLA and Premier David Eby by political campaigner Salvatore Vetro.
Spurred by a collapsing health-care system, Vetro must collect signatures from 40 per cent or more of the voters eligible to sign the petition, or 16,449 voters in Eby’s riding, to remove the premier.
Vetro is a retired HandyDART driver and local actor who has dipped into politics before.
In 2010, the 69-year-old founded a fringe political party called BC First Party, a proposed alternative to the BC Liberals and BC NDP, which did not gain any traction with the public.
“In short, our goal is to develop for B.C. a smaller, more efficient, less wasteful, less intrusive system of government, similar to the Swiss system of direct democracy. A system where the MLAs are answerable to the people, not a political party, a premier, corporations, unions, or some other special interest group,” he wrote in the Georgia Straight in 2013.
Vetro’s independent pitch for MLA of Vancouver-Kensington in 2020 garnered 202 votes, good for one per cent of the turnout.
Vetro’s most successful political venture was as financial agent for the Bill Vander Zalm-led 2010 anti-HST/GST campaign, which succeeded in a 2011 referendum, with 55 per cent support.
Vetro said he hopes to parlay the success he had in that campaign with the recall petition. He said he has a team of volunteers prepared to go door to door.
Vetro and former premier Vander Zalm share common skepticism of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the latter suggesting the pandemic has been a global communist plot.
The pandemic has provided for a resurgence of political activity for Vetro, a COVID-19 vaccine skeptic and so-called “freedom convoy” participant in February 2022, to oppose government pandemic-related public health measures and restrictions, particularly vaccine passports.
Vetro told Glacier Media his key beef with “dictator” Eby is the “imploding” health-care system.
“It’s in crisis, let’s face it; that’s a fact,” said Vetro.
Glacier Media has reached out to Eby's office for comment and is waiting to hear back.
While hospitals are filled to the brim, Vetro’s chief stated concerns are, however, medical freedoms and not necessarily the virus causing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bill 36, the Health Professions and Occupations Act, is what specifically prompted Vetro to campaign against Eby.
Vetro said he is opposed to the bill, as it gives the provincial government too much power over health-care professionals, including control of board appointments for regulatory colleges and imposing mandatory vaccinations. (Section 200 (2)(c) states “the minister may make regulations requiring applicants and regulated health service providers to do one or more of the following: be vaccinated against specified transmissible illnesses.”)
Bill 36 has recently received criticism from health-care professionals for the board appointment clauses.
Vetro likened the continued vaccine mandates for health-care professionals to “forced treatment” and thus violations of the Nuremberg Code (which is an ethical code against medical experimentation on humans and has nothing to do with public health measures).
Asked what he thought about the 350-plus individuals in hospital with COVID-19, Vetro said he’d like to know “what testing is being done” and noted the vaccines never stopped transmission. (The COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to prevent hospitalizations and deaths, according to the B.C. Ministry of Health and B.C. Centre for Disease Control).
Vetro also opposes plans for involuntary treatment in mental health services, which he noted is opposed by civil liberties groups. Although the idea is being considered, Eby has more recently casted doubt on it.
The recall petition commences Jan. 17 and lasts until March 17. There have been 29 recall petitions approved in B.C.’s history and none have succeeded, technically — although in 1998, Parksville-Qualicum MLA Paul Reitsma resigned after petitioners returned 25,430 signatures after requiring just 17,020.