Greater Bay of Quinte Area Chapter hosts a candidate forum

Click here to read ‘Candidates attack Tories‘ by Jason Miller –  The Intelligencer, September 9, 2015.

Two candidates vying for a seats in the October federal election tried to win over members of a local seniors advocacy group with promises to address issues such as health care and retirement benefits reform during a forum in Thurlow Wednesday.

The local chapter of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons invited a candidate from each party to participate in the forum, but only the Liberals Mike Bossio and NDP candidate Betty Bannon showed, while incumbent MP Daryl Kramp declined to attend and Green Party’s Cam Mather blamed a scheduling conflict for his absence.

Like her Liberal competitor, Foxboro resident, Bannon, took shots at the Conservatives for what they called bad economic management and disconnect from the needs of the provinces.

“The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was the way the government was treating our veterans,” said Bannon, who with Bossio are trying to unseat Kramp in the Hastings-Lennox and Addington riding which borders Highway 401.

A guaranteed income supplement expansion and dropping the marker for old age benefits back to 65 from 67 were also on Bannon’s and Bossio’s agenda for the meeting geared to those issues.

CARP also posed a string of questions to the candidates including their position on reforming health care and potential of renewing health care accords with the provinces to improve transfers. Bannon said the accords with the provinces is pivotal to driving improvements and Bossio also stuck to those lines.

People want to stay as long as they can at home because that’s where they feel comfortable,” she said, before pointing to what she deemed the government’s neglect of mental health. “We’ve had more veterans commit suicide in this country than we’ve had killed in Afghanistan and that is terrible.

Bossio said there needs to be a open door policy with the provinces.

“The government has refused to work with the provinces,” Bossio said, adding the system needs to shift from acute care and look more at preventative measures. Moving some areas of care into the hands of community agencies need to continue he suggest.

The controversial subject of assisted death was also thrown at Bossio and Bannon. Bossio said it comes down to choice.

“We support doctor-assisted suicide as a directed by the Supreme Court of Canada,” he said. “We have to ensure the reason an individual decides to take their life is not because they’re destitute, or in agony or the palliative care isn’t their.”

He mentioned the forming of a bi-partisan panel to address the issue and come up with a structure for what request would be granted.

Bannon said the NDP has tried to pressure Harper to respect the court ruling, “telling him you have 12 months to come up with changes in law, which he has done absolutely nothing.”

She said the NDP have tried without success to get an end of life strategy into place.

“The NDP adhere to what the court has told the government,” she said.

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