A routine request to support a Vancouver motion to eliminate medical service plan premiums for seniors led to serious debate in Parksville.
Parksville councillor Marc Lefebvre brought up the motion to support sending the Vancouver motion to the UBCM (Union of B.C. Municipalities), suggesting it’s an unfair charge and B.C. is the only province where it still exists.
Coun. Carrie Powell-Davidson was quick to point out that there are plenty of seniors who can afford to pay the premium and it would be unfair to shift that burden to other groups, she would prefer a needs assessment based exemption for seniors who have trouble paying.
Coun. Al Greir, who proudly jokes about being the oldest councillor, strongly agreed.
“People should pay for their health care,” he said, “seniors feel entitled to everything, I don’t understand why just because we’re seniors we shouldn’t have to pay for anything.”
He said the country is struggling with health care funding and seniors are putting a lot of that pressure on the system, so why shift that cost to their children and grandchildren?
“Our seniors built this country, they brought in health care,” coun. Sue Powell argued passionately.
“I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation … I’m appalled.”
Lefebvre argued that 45 per cent of seniors in Parksville live alone and suggested they are mainly widows and widowers who don’t have a lot of income.
He said this was just a matter of supporting another city’s motion, that it’s unfair B.C. is the only province that still charges seniors and he could take the needs test suggestion to the UBCM discussion. Council did eventually support the motion.