Vancouver Sun

Cam­paigns fo­cus on se­niors

B.C. Lib­er­als, NDP pledge fund­ing

- TERRI THEODORE Society · Canada News · Democratic Party (United States) · British Columbia · Vancouver · New Democratic Party (Canada) · John Horgan · North Vancouver

The lead­ers of both the Lib­er­als and New Democrats fo­cused their at­ten­tion on se­niors while cam­paign­ing in B.C.'s pro­vin­cial elec­tion on Sun­day.

Both party an­nounce­ments pledge to keep se­niors in their homes for longer, while the Lib­er­als also added a plan to im­prove long-term care homes to its elec­tion plat­form.

While cam­paign­ing in North Van­cou­ver, Lib­eral Leader An­drew Wilkin­son an­nounced a $7,000 an­nual tax credit for se­niors' at-home ser­vices and a $1-bil­lion plan to re­place and up­grade care homes.

“Some peo­ple may say this can be a bit ex­pen­sive, but com­pare with the cost of in­sti­tu­tional care, which is much, much higher,” Wilkin­son said. “Se­niors de­serve the op­tion of ag­ing in place. Se­niors de­serve the op­tion of the com­fort and se­cu­rity of their own home as they age.”

The Lib­eral plan to up­grade and build care homes is sim­i­lar to the $1.4-bil­lion, 10-year cap­i­tal plan the NDP an­nounced Wed­nes­day, though Wilkin­son said his ap­proach would see all se­niors in pri­vate long-term care rooms over five years, not 10.

Wilkin­son said a Lib­eral gov­ern­ment would com­mit $200 mil­lion in each of five years to fast track con­struc­tion to en­sure that ev­ery senior who wants a sin­gle room in long-term care can have one.

COVID-19 out­breaks in longterm care homes in B.C. have been dev­as­tat­ing and the ma­jor­ity of the 238 peo­ple who have died in the pro­vin­cial have been se­niors.

Wilkin­son said it's a tragedy that can never hap­pen again.

NDP Leader John Hor­gan, who cam­paigned in Co­mox, an­nounced ex­panded health-care education spa­ces and fund­ing for se­niors' home care, say­ing the for­mer Lib­eral gov­ern­ment ra­tioned ser­vices and cut back on staff.

“COVID-19 has ex­posed the true cost of B.C. Lib­eral ne­glect to se­niors' care,” Hor­gan said in a state­ment.

Hor­gan said the NDP plan would in­volve train­ing pro­grams for health care work­ers and would en­sure health au­thor­i­ties have the re­sources they need to de­liver the ser­vices.

He said the key to the plan would be to al­low se­niors to stay at home, where they want to be.

“That's far more cost ef­fec­tive than build­ing more bricks and mor­tar and putting peo­ple into build­ings.”

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