The B.C. Green Party is in Victoria this morning announcing its health care platform.
Leader Andrew Weaver is calling it an ‘integrated plan’ focusing on promoting wellness, which will tackle prevention, primary care, and acute care.
The plan calls for the creation of a new Ministry responsible for health promotion, disease prevention and active lifestyles, and would put $35-million into nutrition and physical activity programs for students.
Weaver is also pitching another new ministry, specifically focused on mental health and addictions, along with $80-million to fund early intervention, supervised injection sites, and youth mental health initiatives. It would also look at importing successful European programs to fight the fentanyl crisis.
Monday, the NDP released its health platform, with Ministry of Mental Health proposal.
Weaver says if elected, the Greens would create a task force to shift resources from acute/chronic care to primary and preventative care, and would pour $100-million into support for primary care workers like physiotherapists and nurse practitioners.
They would also create an essential drug program to reduce the cost of prescription drugs for patients.
On seniors issues, the Greens say they would help fund home care, and put up $200-million to address staffing levels in public facilities.
The full cost of the platform was not immediately available, but the specific funding commitments announced total $590-million.
Meanwhile, Weaver isn’t saying which way he might lean should the Greens find themselves with the balance of power in a minority government.
“We’d have to make a deal with someone and we’d have to talk with whoever,” says Weaver, who says he hasn’t been in touch with either party about the possibility.
“Frankly I’d like that to be the BC Greens going to the Lieutenant-Governor and saying ‘you know what, we have x-number of seats, we’d like to form government. Will you give us that option?’ And I think we can do it.”
Weaver also took a moment to comment on the NDP’s plan to end tolls on two major bridges, calling the idea “reckless.”
NDP leader John Horgan is campaigning in Maple Ridge, Delta and Surrey, while BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark campaigns in Peace Country.
With files from Ria Renouf, Jeremy Lye, and Neetu Garcha