B.C. Liberals shouldn’t cancel Christmas dinner in care homes

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Place setting for Christmas dinnerVICTORIA — The B.C. Liberal government must reverse a health authority policy restricting visiting family members from joining seniors in care homes for Christmas dinner, said New Democrat leader John Horgan.

“There is a simple solution to this bad policy: end it,” said Horgan. “What kind of misguided government would allow this to happen? Seniors deserve to have Christmas dinner with their families. What were the B.C. Liberals thinking?”

A letter from Island Health acknowledges that “in years past we used to cater to all of the residents families and have large bustling excellent tasting meals and great festivities.”

But the letter then goes on to not only restrict each senior to only one guest for Christmas dinner, but also to limit the total number of guests in North Island care homes to 12, meaning most residents would not even be allowed a single family member to join them for Christmas dinner.

As the letter itself says, “We allow 1 invited guest per resident to a maximum of 10-12 guests per meal. For example, if we have 80 residents in a facility, we would serve 92 residents and guests”

Horgan said the Liberal MLA for Parksville-Qualicum Michelle Stilwell – who is also the Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors to the health minister – had the letter for a week but apparently didn’t care enough to share it with her boss Terry Lake.

“I cannot fathom how the Health Minister didn’t deal with this as soon as the information arrived at least a week ago,” said Horgan.

“It’s hard to take the B.C. Liberals at their word anymore. They are good at figuring out what people want to hear about the importance of families and respect for seniors, but then they don’t deliver,” said Horgan, who called on the Health Minister to cancel the policy during question period in the B.C. legislature on Thursday.

“After everything our seniors have done to build our communities and contribute to our province, the least we can do is ensure they get to enjoy Christmas dinner with their loved ones.

“I hope government will flip flop on this policy as fast as they did on their plan to cancel the Horseshoe Bay ferry run,” said Horgan.