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B.C. party leaders promising help for seniors, ICBC rebates, support for renters

Last Updated Oct 5, 2020 at 5:12 am PDT

FILE - (From left) BC NDP Leader John Horgan, BC Liberal Leader Leader Andrew Wilkinson, and BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau (CityNews)
Summary

A big promise for seniors care came from the BC Liberals and NDP's Sunday morning

The BC Greens are promising help for struggling renters if elected

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — B.C.’s NDP and Liberal leaders both offered their plans to ensure more seniors can live in their own homes, closer to their loved ones, for as long as possible.

In a stop in North Vancouver Sunday morning, B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson promised a five year, $1-billion plan that includes long-term care home funding and a tax credit.

“Our plan provides relief for seniors immediately, and will help them stay at home longer with a tax credit of up to $7,000 for home care services,” Wilkinson said.

“Our $1-billion plan will improve long-term care homes and get seniors their own rooms far sooner than the NDP’s 10-year plan.”

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However, NDP leader John Horgan is skeptical. He claims B.C.’s seniors had less access to publicly funded home care services in 2017 than they did in 2001 when the B.C. Liberals took office.

“Access to home support in B.C. for those aged 75 and older fell by 30% under their watch,” a statement from the NDP reads.

During Horgan’s stop at the Comox Valley he announced that, if re-elected, his party will expand publicly funded home care for seniors.

“This has been a challenging time for all of us, but it is our seniors who are most at risk,” Horgan said in a release.

“COVID-19 has exposed the true cost of B.C. Liberal neglect to seniors care. There are thousands in long-term care facilities right now who could be living safely at home with the proper support. We’ll ensure they can do just that.”

ICBC rebates

The BC NDP is also promising to return profits generated by ICBC during the COVID-19 pandemic to drivers in the form of a rebate cheque.

NDP Candidate for Vancouver Point-Grey David Eby — who managed the ICBC file as attorney general in the previous NDP government — said the rebate would be paid at the same time as new ICBC rates kick in on May 1.

Eby estimates the new rates — part of the NDP’s move to a no-fault style insurance model — will save drivers about 20 per cent.

“This is a time when every dollar counts for B.C. families,” Eby says.

Meantime, Richard Mcandless, ICBC critic, says the crown corporation can’t afford to give a rebate.

“Their finances are in such poor shape, they have to restock their equity, before they even consider any rebate. That equity was destroyed by the deficits that were run in the last five or six years, and it’s very high risk right now,” he says, adding  ICBC rates the last five or six years have been entirely too low.

Former Attorney General David Eby, on the other hand, says ICBC made over $300 million in the first quarter of 2020.

Support for renters

The BC Greens are promising a $500-million program for low to moderate-income earners who spend over 30 per cent of their income on rent.

Sonia Furstenau announcing the promise in Duncan, saying if elected, these grants will help renters struggling to make ends meet.

According to the Greens, in BC, 43 per cent of all renter households — totaling 250,000 people — are paying more in rent than they can afford.

Furstenau adds this plan would aim to close the gap between affordable rent and what renters are actually paying.