Election 2015

Election 2015: Seniors’ group goes door-to-door to get voter commitment

Residents asked to support party with a comprehensive health care plan

Do you pay for rent or fill a prescription?

This is a very real predicament someone may face, particularly a senior who’s wallet may be deflating while health care needs are expanding.

“It’s a Catch 22,” according to Ron Cameron of the Trail Society for the Protection and Care of Seniors (SPCS).

Members of the advocacy group have put their personal political views aside in search for just the facts for voters deciding which party to back in the upcoming federal election.

Volunteers will be out knocking on doors this Sunday to ask residents to pledge a vote.

“We’re asking people to sign a pledge form that says they will vote for the candidate who commits to providing a comprehensive health-care program at the federal level,” Cameron explained.

Contact information collected will be shared with the BC Health Coalition (BCHC), a non-profit and non-partisan organization that will evaluate where each party stands on health care solutions and then develop an election guide to send out to those who pledged.

“What we’re saying is there’s a tie between poverty and health care and that’s why the development of a strategy and a national PharmaCare plan is important,” he added. “Most seniors in poverty are women, the majority of them, and they will not fill prescriptions or take medication that’s prescribed because it’s too expensive.”

But the group isn’t just looking out for seniors right now. The conversation around health care is open to all demographics.

The public was given a chance to hear from two of the federal candidates – NDP’s Richard Cannings and Liberal’s Connie Denesiuk – last week when SPCS hosted a forum during Thursday afternoon.

The group injected some questions during the open mike part of the presentation.

Topics centered around the negotiation of a new health accord with the provinces, protection of Medicare, the universal and publicly funded healthcare system, provision of adequate funding to sustain and improve the public system, implementation of a national PharmaCare program and investing in a national seniors’ health care strategy.

Representatives from the BCHC will be hand on this weekend to further address the topic by helping canvas the Trail area. Adam Lynnes-Ford and Jen Kuhl will hold a brief orientation session before the volunteers go out in pairs to specific neighbourhoods in the Trail area.

The campaign is an initiative developed by BCHC to encourage people to support federal election candidates who commit to a comprehensive public healthcare system, as mandated by the Canada Health Act.

“It is a non-partisan effort with a major goal of not only asking people to commit to vote positively for a strong Medicare program but also to be sure to vote in the federal election,” said Cameron.

“One of the things we’re focused on is wanting people to get out and vote, and we feel that if people sign a form or pledge sheet then it kind of commits them and they will get out and vote.”

Anyone interested in doing the door-to-door canvass should come to the United Church (1300 Pine Ave.) at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Residents will be asked to cast a ballot in the newly formed South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding Oct. 19.

Other candidates include Conservative’s Marshall Neufeld, the Green Party’s Samantha Troy and independent candidate Brian Gray.

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