Here is how Liberal Party candidate candidate Dallas Smith responded:
Seniors in Campbell River will certainly have increased access a broad range of services close to home with the opening of the new 95 bed North Island Hospital this September. But the one thing every senior tells me is that they want to live in their own home for as long as possible. The BC Liberal platform is built around helping seniors live independently, and I fully support keeping people in their own residence and close to their own community.
It is a fact that British Columbia has the longest life expectancy in Canada. This is due in large part to the healthy and active lifestyle that many seniors enjoy in our province year-round. We want to encourage more seniors by creating a new Active Seniors Tax Credit to reward good habits that keep people healthy and independent. Naturally, the time does come when people need more assistance and the BC Liberal platform offers a full spectrum of care as we age.
To help seniors remain independent and at home, our plan is to double the Home Renovation Tax Credit from $10,000 to $20,000. This will help seniors make home improvements, and accommodate seniors or family members with disabilities. We also need to recognize that family members also play an important part in care-giving and a BC Liberal government will introduce a Respite Tax Credit of up to $2,500 for people caring for seniors or family members with disabilities.
We need to plan ahead to accommodate increased demand on public transportation and handyDART service in particular. I want to work with local government and BC Transit to ensure that we get our fair share of expanded handyDART services for seniors.
We know that an aging population is going to place more demand on the health care system, and a BC Liberal government plans to invest $225 million to reduce surgical wait times for elective surgeries – with no impact on emergency surgeries. This translates into 5,500 more hip and knee replacement surgeries over the next two years. This funding comes into addition to $500 million already announced to ensure that seniors in residential care are provided with a minimum of 3.36 hours per day. The Campbell River Hospice Society is also receiving $90,000 toward four new hospice beds at Yucalta Lodge.
Current and Future Needs
Currently, one-sixth of B.C.’s population is over 65 years old, and it is growing at three times the rate of the total population. While the majority of seniors age well, the incidence of chronic illness and frailty will increase.
My promise is to give seniors the best possible quality of life as we age and have the supports in place where and when people need them.
I want to conclude by saying that most seniors want to leave a brighter future for younger generations, see them get a good job, be able to enter the housing market and not be left with a huge public debt through reckless government spending.