B.C. Liberals still trying to figure out how to appoint seniors advocate after seven months

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VICTORIA – Despite the urgent need for a seniors advocate in B.C., the Liberals have failed to follow through on their pre-election promise to B.C. seniors, say New Democrats.

“The health minister says the government is working to appoint a seniors advocate behind the scenes, but last week’s disturbing story of a 90-year-old woman discharged from hospital in the middle of the night is proof that seniors need an advocate now,” said New Democrat seniors critic Katrine Conroy.

Despite passing legislation before the election allowing for an advocate to be appointed, when asked about the progress on the appointment today, Health Minister Terry Lake admitted they still don’t even have a process in place for the hiring.

“B.C. seniors deserve better. First, the Liberals failed to create what seniors really need: an advocate that is truly independent, with the ability to fully and candidly evaluate the government. Now, seven months after passing that watered-down legislation in the lead up to the election, the minister admits they haven’t even decided on a selection process,” said Conroy, who has introduced legislation three times over the past six years that would have seen an independent advocate appointed.

New Democrat health critic Judy Darcy said that a lack of investment in homecare and residential care is contributing to overstressed emergency rooms.

“We need to look at the reasons why vulnerable seniors are being discharged in the middle of the night with no support. Over the past 12 years the B.C. Liberals have only paid lip service to improving community-based care, and our hospitals and patients are paying the price,” said Darcy.

Darcy pointed out that the appointment of a seniors advocate is just one of many issues that could have been addressed in the fall legislative session, had the Liberal government not cancelled it.

“For people who expect this government to keep its promises, it’s disappointing to see them refuse to come to the legislature to be held accountable,” said Darcy. “The B.C. Liberals need to end this stalling and get on with appointing a seniors advocate now.”