Article posted October 3, 2011
Peggy Russell is the NDP Candidate for Burlington. This is her response to the questions CARP Halton Chapter sent to all Election Candidates in Halton Region.
1. Will you vote to fully fund a comprehensive home care strategy to allow everyone to stay in their own homes as long as possible? This includes funding and training more home care workers, substantive financial support for full time family caregivers, workplace protection and professional support from the health care system.
Ontario New Democrats have long supported Policies that allow Seniors to remain in their home as long as possible. New Democrats are committed to eliminating wait times for Long Term Care and developing comprehensive home care supports including incentives for family members who provide home care. I shall support initiatives that provide workplace protection and professional support from the health care system to families that work to maintain aging family members in their homes. New Democrats believe that seniors should live with dignity in their homes for as long as possible.
2. What will you do to increase affordable access to long term care ?
I will work with my colleagues to eliminate wait times for Long Term Care beds and to ensure that their are adequate resources available to meet the needs of Haltons aging population. Halton has specific needs with respect to the availability of Long Term Care beds given a large portion of the population are in their senior years. Halton will require significant investments to meet the needs of our Seniors and I am committed to meeting this challenge by supporting significant new investments in the provision of Long Term Care facilities.
3. Will you support a concerted effort to reduce the cost of prescription drugs including bulk purchasing, resisting attempts to extend patent protection and ensuring public coverage of drugs is transparent and cost effective. Will you support a national pharmacare policy to provide basic drug coverage for all Canadians?
There has been significant pressure on governments to extend patent protection to maintain the interests of pharmaceutical companies. Our Federal New Democrats with the support of their provincial counterparts have proposed a national pharmacare policy. This is an initiative that I believe is long overdue. Seventy percent of the increase in health care costs over the last decade are the result of increases in the costs of medication. I and your Ontario New Democrats are committed to reducing the costs of prescription drugs by buying generic drugs in bulk.
4. Will you support increasing the income supplement [GAINS] for low income seniors, and extending support especially to those aged 60-64, mostly single, who do not receive the spousal allowance ?
I will work with my colleagues at the provincial and federal levels to ensure that Seniors have enough income to maintain a healthy and dignified retirement. I support increasing and extending the income supplement. AcrossCanadaand our province to many Seniors are forced to make tough decision around medicine, food, electricity, heating and rent. It is time we elected a government that has the fortitude to provide support to community members most in need.
5. What will you do to reduce or mitigate the escalating cost of living, such as HST on home heating, property taxes and electricity costs, for lower, fixed income Ontarians, especially seniors.
As we know the most recent tax increase, the HST, hits low and middle income earners the hardest. That is why New Democrats will remove the HST from home heating costs and other essentials to ensure that the burden of this new tax does not unduly effect those individuals who have modest resources.