Sue Moen says Greens addressing the root causes and impacts of instability

The 2016 census results that will reveal more about age and sex demographics are coming out next week, but in 2011 Statistics Canada reported 16.7 per cent of residents were over the age of 65, while the national number was 14.8 per cent.

So for this week’s election issue, the Mirror asked the candidates about seniors issues:

Why should the senior population in our constituency vote for you and your party? How are you planning on meeting their diverse care, housing, transportation, accessibility and heath needs now and into the future?

Here is how Green Party candidate Sue Moen responded:

I believe the BC Green platform is bold, thorough and achievable. We believe public services spending is an investment in our collective future, not a four-year cycle expense. We will address affordability and access issues with increased funding for affordable housing, re-structuring crown corporations to serve the people, implementing an anti-poverty strategy and investing in health promotion strategies. All of these initiatives will serve seniors to continue to be vibrant and active participants in our lives and communities.

Everyone appears to agree: we need to increase the emphasis of health care spending on prevention.

Access to primary care is a key part of preventing small health issues from becoming full blown crises, so we will shift from inpatient and ambulatory care to community care. To achieve this, we will: invest $35 million over 4 years in home care; invest $100 million to support health workers of all disciplines to take the burden from physicians; act to ensure staffing in private and public facilities meets provincial guidelines; and invest $200 million to increase staffing in public facilities.

Housing is a human right, not a commodity. BC Greens are committed to implementing a provincial housing plan to address the lack of affordable housing. This is a cornerstone of our plan to ensure a more equitable society. We will invest $750M over 4 years to construct approximately 4,000 new units of affordable housing per year. We will increase housing allowances and continue to deliver current rent assistance programs while working toward a basic income for all citizens regardless of current status. Greens will protect existing social housing and reduce operating costs by investing $100 million per year in retrofits and renovations of older units. We will partner with First Nations, non-profit developers, cooperatives, and the private sector to support the planning and construction of low income rental units and we will introduce incentives for the construction of, and/or conversion of existing buildings for rental property.

Mobility is crucial to seniors’ ability to be vibrant participants in our neighbourhoods and communities. BC Greens will work with local and federal governments to address funding for community and regional transportation infrastructure. We will bring BC Ferries back into government as a Crown Corporation and review their operations, focusing on providing an efficient, public service and the role of ferries in BC’s transportation network. We will work with the federal government to address the inequity in federal funding for BC ferry passengers.

The BC Green plan is a fundamental shift that cannot be done overnight. We are not just tweaking the system – we are addressing the root causes and impacts of instability. It will challenge many of the accepted norms of the past 25 years, and there will be rocky patches as we go.

But without a change of approach, a large proportion of British Columbians face a very uncertain future, while a privileged few feed off their insecurity.

BC Votes 2017