Campaigns focus on seniors
B.C. Liberals, NDP pledge funding
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.”