It is a pleasure and an honour to be able to address you directly in this forum, particularly during this exciting and critical period for the people of Saskatchewan.
I have the privilege to be leading the New Democratic Party in the provincial election campaign that is underway in our province. The NDP is offering a responsible, affordable platform of positive change that will benefit everyone in Saskatchewan.I am proud that our plan includes a focus on the needs of our growing older adult population.
The programs and policies we are proposing are crucial to meet the demographic demands of tomorrow. For instance, by 2018, the portion of our population over 65 will rise to 16.4 per cent; by 2023, that number will be 18.6 per cent and by 2028, almost 21 per cent.
An NDP government will ensure that older adults and seniors in Saskatchewan have the right to live in dignity. We believe all Saskatchewan residents should benefit from our province’s wealth and prosperity.
The NDP plan includes:
• A Seniors’ Bill of Rights to ensure seniors can access affordable programs and services, remain in their communities and be protected from abuse and neglect.
* An annual $500 property tax rebate to senior homeowners and renters.
• Next-generation rent control to protect seniors on fixed incomes from unreasonable rent increases.
*750 new subsidized affordable assisted-living units, with special attention to long term care homes to allow couples who require different levels of care to stay together.
* A Credit for Caring refundable tax credit of up to $1,000 per year to individuals providing care to elderly or disabled relatives or friends.
• Additional funding for seniors centres to assist them with operating costs.
• Ensuring all Saskatchewan residents have access to healthcare, where they need it and when they need it, by:
• Establishing Community Access Hospitals that will allow communities facing a shortage of doctors to keep their hospitals open;
• Investing $24 million into physician recruitment;
• Doubling the number of primary healthcare clinics over the next 10 years, with 30 new clinics added in our first term of office. These clinics will allow people to see a healthcare professional sooner and get one-stop care that meets their needs.
The NDP is committed to a comprehensive, multi-faceted plan because it is the responsible thing to do, particularly for the citizens who have sacrificed so much to build our great province and create the prosperity we now enjoy.
An NDP government in Saskatchewan will ensure that older adults and seniors can live in dignity and access the affordable housing, healthcare and other services they deserve. We call it positive change where you benefit.
Saskatchewan New Democratic Party