It seems that healthcare and social service issues are taking a back seat to other issues in this election. I’d like to remind political parties and the public, that the largest expenditure in the Yukon government budget is spent on health and social services. This represents about 30 per cent of the overall 2016/17 budget.
The Seniors Action Yukon, a group formed in April 2016, is committed to speaking out about issues that affect our well-being. We presented questions to the Liberals, NDP and Yukon Party, for their views on issues of concern to older adults.
The answers received from the three parties were very similar. This means that we will have to ensure whatever party is elected will keep their word. The devil is in the details, and it seemed that few of them provided much in the way of details.
But the assessment of the results have to be weighed in terms of past actions and the depth of knowledge conveyed by the answers. Some of the ideas brought forward:
• All believe in some kind of process for seniors/elders and health professionals to provide input into future health care decisions, but the process of what their involvement would be, who would be involved and how much input they would have is left largely unanswered;
• All would proceed with the 150-bed Whistle Bend long-term care facility. The Yukon Party said the facility could be expanded to 300 beds. The other two parties felt that consultation with stakeholders is necessary on future long-term care needs. The NDP would consider size, location, programming and design for future facilities, including in rural communities.
• All said they would look at the home care needs and allocate resources based on these needs. NDP committed that within the first year, they would expand home care to include evening and weekends and strengthen home care in rural communities.
• Both the NDP and Yukon Party would support Vimy Heritage Housing Society for assisted independent living facilities. The NDP mentioned the need throughout Yukon for these facilities. The Liberals would examine available options to meet needs of communities.
For the detailed political party responses to the other issues from and to obtain a summary chart of their responses, contact Seniors Action Yukon (S.A.Y.) at firstname.lastname@example.org. A Facebook page for the group is currently being constructed.
We urge older adults to read the detailed responses from parties and to vote.
Lillian Nakamura Maguire,
Seniors Action Yukon