Although provincial Liberal leader Christy Clark’s stop at the site of the Comox Valley Hospital Tuesday had campaign promises for health care, it left some feeling the promises fell a bit short.
Following a photo opportunity on a front-end loader and smoothing a freshly-poured sidewalk with Comox Valley MLA Don McRae, Clark promised her government would enable further investments in health care.
“In our platform, Strong Economy … Secure Tomorrow, today’s BC Liberals are committed to increasing the number of hospice beds by 100 per cent, by 2020,” Clark said. “We will work with the Comox Valley Hospice Society to help make their dream for a new hospice a reality.”
Terri Odeneal, executive director of the Comox Valley Hospice Society said she is very pleased to hear the Liberals are recognizing the need for access to residential hospice care in the community, although is concerned end-of-life care has yet to become a priority for VIHA.
“VIHA recognized the need for five residential hospice beds for our community in their end-of-life plan in 2007 which called for those to be operational by 2011,” she noted. “As we all know, 2011 has come and gone and we still have no hospice beds for the residents of the Comox Valley.
She added while Clark’s comment were encouraging, they did not represent a firm commitment of operation or capital funding.
” … they address the issue of equitable access that was seemingly ignored when more than $10 million was recently announced by the Minister of Health for end-of-life care services across the Lower Mainland where numerous services already exist.”
Clark noted during the stop her government would double the amount of hospice beds in the province.
“Certainly here, there are none. I know the hospice society has a dream. They’ve raised about $500,000 so far. What they’re looking for is multi-millions, and we’re will be there to support that. We need to work on the details with them as to what the business case would look like, and how much the province would be there to support it.”
She added the fact the Comox Valley community does not have a hospice is something that needs to be fixed.
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During the press conference, Clark touched a variety of topics, including the Raven Coal Mine project:
“The application is going to go to environmental review at some point, and I am not going to pre-judge that review. Again, here’s the contrast between myself and Adrian Dix. When I say that we’re going to have a review, it’s not play theatre. We’re not acting. We’re not pretending to have a review when we already know what the answer is going to be. We’re going to wait and see what the results of the review are, get all of the information of the environmental, social and economic impacts of it, and then we’ll be in a position to make the decision. You contrast that with where the New Democrats are, sometimes a review matters, sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes they already have the answer, sometimes they don’t even want to do a review and they already have the answer. You cannot attract investment or create jobs in any jurisdiction if you’re just going to play-act at government processes.
On NDP leader Adrian Dix’s health care funding announcement:
“The spend-o-meter keeps going up by a quarter, a half-billion dollars a day and we get these bare details about where he’d like to spend the money … and he never says where he’s going to get it. We’ve doubled the health care budget in the last 12 years in British Columbia, and we’ve done it by keeping taxes low across the province and we’ve done it by growing the economy. The way the NDP is going to find that $2.75 billion dollars so far they’ve committed to spend, the only one way they’re going to get that, is by taking money out of people’s pockets in the form of higher taxes and making life less affordable for people.
On the NDP’s election campaign:
“The NDP haven’t released their platform. They’ve refused to say on a lot of things where they would spend the money. You can’t put together a platform on the back of a napkin, or one hundred napkins. A platform is a plan, it’s got to hang together, and people need to be able to see the whole thing at once. That’s why I released my platform the day before this election started.”