Seniors deserve to be respected, supported, and safe.
These are the people who built our province up, and who worked hard so their children and grandchildren would have opportunities to build a better life.
BC’s Seniors Advocate recently released a report finding a huge increase in the abuse and neglect of seniors over the last few years. There has been a 69% increase in violent crimes involving seniors, an 87% increase in reports of physical abuse, and a 49% increase in reports of financial abuse. And that’s just what’s reported - much more is invisible abuse.
The NDP has made only a partial commitment to acting on the pressing concerns identified in the report.
We can do better.
Tens of thousands of Seniors in BC experience elder abuse and neglect in BC every year, including physical, emotional, or mental harm, and the loss or damage of property and assets. Although many of these abuses are criminal offenses, few proceed through the justice system. I’ll work to strengthen the resources and support available to Seniors at risk of elder abuse, and to ensure that people who abuse Seniors are brought to justice.
That will include pushing the federal government to define elder abuse as a specific crime under the Canadian Criminal Code, and to strengthen the language around the age of victims as an aggravating factor in sentencing.
But it's not just about crime and punishing. I’ve previously outlined my broader plan for seniors, which includes a pandemic public inquiry with a focus on long term care, supporting computer literacy for seniors and making sure they’re not left behind as government services go online, better resources to help seniors stay active by connecting with volunteer opportunities in their communities, reviewing and modernizing handyDART to improve response times, improving childcare choice by supporting grandparents who provide childcare, and addressing the fact that BC’s provincial coverage of hearing aids is among the worst in Canada. Hearing loss can contribute to isolation, depression, and dementia. Seniors shouldn’t have to choose between hearing and eating or paying the rent.
To help gather grassroots input as Leader of the BC Liberal Party, I will launch a Leader’s Seniors Advisory Committee. As Leader of the Opposition and then Premier, I will make myself available for quarterly meetings with the Council of Advisors to the Office of the Seniors Advocate, in order to make sure we’re staying on top of issues affecting seniors.
My campaign is about putting people and families back at the heart of how we think and talk about our party. That doesn't only mean young families like mine - it means building a better BC for both our children and grandchildren and our parents and grandparents.