Dix in health minister's turf; NDP health platform expected | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Current Conditions

Partly Cloudy
7.9°C

Dix in health minister's turf; NDP health platform expected

B.C. NDP Leader Adrian Dix, right, listens to senior citizen Wilda Morris during a provincial election campaign stop at the South Granville Seniors Centre in Vancouver B.C., on Tuesday April 23, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
April 23, 2013 - 1:00 AM

VANCOUVER - NDP Leader Adrian Dix takes his campaign to the turf of the Liberal health minister today and if he sticks with his past pattern, he'll likely unveil his party's plans on health care.

Dix has spent much of the last week releasing the NDP platform plank by plank in the ridings of the Liberal ministers responsible.

The area where Dix makes his announcement today is held by Margaret MacDiarmid, whose last job the day before the election was called was to enact legislation to allow licensed practical nurses to bargain under the B.C. Nurses Union banner.

When the NDP released the fiscal framework for their campaign platform earlier this month, the party said additional spending on health would be a priority, but no further details were released.

As usual, health care will be a mine field for whichever party forms government.

The Liberals promised to keep a short leash on health-care costs in the February budget that has become the foundation of their election campaign.

The Liberals said in February part of their plan would be tough negotiations with the province's 10,000 or so doctors over the fees paid through B.C.'s medical services plan.

The Liberals said the government is looking at reducing the fees paid for some services and eliminating those paid for others in the round of negotiations that gets underway in earnest after the May 14 election.

Sticking to a promise of balancing the books in 2013-2014 also means capping spending increases on health care to 2.6 per cent in each of the next three years, a drastic reduction from the spending increases of seven per cent logged between 2005 and 2008 and the just over four per cent increases in the years since.

Whichever party wins government next month will also have to contend with the ongoing battle over private participation in the public health care system.

Last summer, private health care crusader Dr. Brian Day launched a lawsuit against the government saying long waits in the public system violate their rights and they should be permitted to access the care they need in a private system.

Liberal Leader Christy Clark will spend today on Vancouver Island, territory that has traditionally voted NDP.

She will visit the Courtenay campaign headquarters of Education Minister Don McRae before heading off to Nanaimo and Parksville.

On Monday night, Clark participated in a Twitter "town hall" organized by Vancouver radio station News1130.

Questions on education, health care and pipelines were put to Clark.

The premier answered about 20 questions from the public during the one-hour online exchange. The radio station moderator said they received hundreds of questions.

She was asked about everything from bonuses for executives and managers at Community Living B.C. while group homes were being closed to her jobs plan.

She was also asked about the economy and her government's decision to spend money hosting the Times of India Film Awards last month.

On education, Clark said her government has added 500 teacher positions and 400 teaching assistants this year. They're also looking for a 10-year contact with teachers.

"Let's end strikes that hurt our kids," she tweeted.

The premier also said her government has added $2.3 billion to the health care budget over the next three years, doubled hospice beds and will appoint a seniors advocate.

Mariette Gaylie of Vancouver asked Clark about educationg funding and senior care.

"Imp Q," Clark responded. "Adding 2.3B to hlth budget nxt 3 yrs. Doubling # of hospice beds.New seniors advocate. securetomorrow.ca"

Gaylie said after she was still undecided,

"Still undecided.. main focus of Premier reduce debt. Cost? impact? not sure how it affects low income families/middle class," she tweeted.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

  • Popular penticton News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile