Vancouver, BC – May 2, 2017, CARP polled BC’s candidates to find out where they stand on issues of important to seniors.
All parties had robust strategies for addressing healthcare issues, though they approached the issue with different tactics.
The Liberals strategy is generally to invest significant dollars in existing systems. Both the Greens and the NDP favoured system redesign, with the Greens also recommending increased investment in preventative health strategies.
There was more differentiation between the parties with respect to financial regulation and poverty reduction. In terms of protection investors, the Liberals are committed to waiting out a multi-year federal consultation while the NDP and the Greens are both prepared to begin consultation now.
With respect to poverty, the Liberals responses addressed MSP relief for families with incomes up to $120,000 while the Greens and NDP planned direct relief for those living in poverty, particularly where housing is concerned.
CARP’s VP of Wanda Morris noted, The Liberals seem pretty content with existing structures; they are generally just investing more dollars in existing systems. The NDP are committed to redesign and reinvent current systems without committing to specific investments. The Greens have provided a platform that is a blend of the two with targeted investments and system redesigns.
The starkest contrasts are in the areas of investor protection and support for the poor with the Liberals generally being content with the status quo and the NDP and the Greens calling for reforms for the former and significant investments to address the latter, particularly in the area of affordable housing.
CARP has 40,000 members in BC; 98% of CARP members voted in the last election. CARP is a national non-profit, 300,000 members strong, advocating for financial security, improved healthcare and freedom from age-discrimination for Canadians as we age.
Where do BC’s political parties stand on matters that affect you?
We asked candidates standing for election to tell us about issues of primary concern to our members including wait times, caregiver support, homecare and better investor protection.
We’ve included the full responses on our website (link) but here are some highlights from their responses:
Improving healthcare and reducing wait times
The Liberals are committed to a major investment in the healthcare system of $225 million over three years to reduce surgical wait times.
The NDP are emphasizing improved service delivery with the introduction of an urgent care model to relieve pressures on emergency rooms. They will coordinate and manage wait lists across the province and expand and replicate best practices to reduce surgical wait times.
The Greens are promising a combination of investment, redesign and prevention, with $100 million over four years to provide integrated primary care from a variety of healthcare professionals. They’ll also invest $40 million in long term care beds to free up hospital beds for elective surgeries.
Providing homecare and supporting caregivers
The Liberals will invest $275 million over four years to increase care for home and community care. They’ll also introduce a respite tax credit of $2500 and double the renovation tax credit for homeowners to $20,000.
The NDP will expand the hours available for homecare and increase the scope of coverages so seniors can continue to live at home. The delivery of patient care through multi-disciplinary teams will also improve the health of seniors lightening the load on caregivers.
In addition to enhancements in the healthcare system, the Greens will invest $35 million in homecare over four years.
Protecting investors – and their life savings
The Liberals will wait on reforms from the government of Canada before taking any action provincially.
The NDP are committed to consulting on a best interest standard that puts the interests of investors before those of financial advisors (currently, very few financial advisors are subject to this standard).
The Greens will invest $15 million to crack down on fraud and will consult on a variety of ways to better protect investors including a best interest standard, a ban on embedded fees and regulation of titles.
Giving a lift to seniors in poverty
The Liberals will cut MSP premiums in half for families making up to $120,000 per year.
The NDP will immediately increase all income assistance and disability rates by $100 month. They will also convene an expert working group to examine poverty reduction initiatives. They will build 114,000 new rental, co-op social housing units over 10 years, and provide a $400 per year renter’s grant.
The Greens will introduce a poverty reduction strategy and a comprehensive housing strategy which will include an investment of up to $750 million per year to build 4000 new housing units every year.