Posted on Feb 3, 2021

NDP Seniors and Housing Critic Lori Sigurdson issued the following statement in response to the UCP announcement today on funding for seniors in continuing care:

“This Premier promised to build a wall around seniors in continuing care. But instead, he minimized the threat of the virus, saying that seniors who died of COVID-19 were older than the average  life expectancy anyway, and left hundreds of millions of federal support money on the table.

“Today’s announcement of one-time, reactive funding is a far cry from meeting the need that exists in continuing care. This Premier gets no brownie points after forcing staff and seniors to suffer with little to no support over the last year.

“While the Premier moves forward with his plans to further privatize seniors care, much of the funding announced today is directed to private facilities. Furthermore, the Premier offered no assurance that this money will go to supporting residents and staff rather than increasing dividends for shareholders. 

“I, and NDP Leader Rachel Notley, have repeatedly called on this UCP government to implement a provincial workforce strategy to ensure adequate staffing levels and safe conditions for staff and seniors in continuing care. Today’s news offered no progress on that issue. 

“We learned today that the Auditor General will be looking into the UCP government’s handling of this pandemic specifically in continuing care and long term care. I welcome this news and renew my call for a fully public, independent inquiry into what can only be described as a tragedy and abject failure of leadership by this UCP government.”