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Red Deer’s NDP candidates pledge more financial, housing support for seniors

NDP promises to freeze personal income taxes
Red Deer South NDP candidate Michelle Baer (centre) and Red Deer North NDP candidate Jaelene Tweedle (in black suit) are pledging more financial support for seniors if their party is elected. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Red Deer’s NDP candidates are pledging to keep the cost of living more affordable for seniors if their party is elected on May 29.

“Seniors built this province and they deserve to be treated with respect,” said Michelle Baer, New Democratic Party candidate for Red Deer South, at a press conference on Wednesday.

“Many seniors are on fixed income, and don’t have room to absorb new costs,” added Baer. “We will not raise your income taxes, we will not bring in a sales tax, and we will not increase your personal costs.”

Instead, she said an Alberta NDP government will lower costs for seniors while expanding home care and medical coverage.

Baer and Red Deer North NDP candidate Jaelene Tweedle committed to lowering car insurance and utility bills, while also making the $300 shingles vaccine free and again covering seniors driver’s medicals that now costs them $100.

“While Danielle Smith and the UCP plan to gamble your Canada Pension by pulling Alberta out of the CPP (Canadian Pension Plan), you can count on Jaelene and I to protect your retirement security. We will protect your CPP,” said Baer.

UCP leader Danielle Smith said last week that she will not be campaigning on replacing the CPP with an Alberta Pension Plan.

“We have said that we’re going to do consultation on a number of these issues,” Smith said in a Global interview May 5.

Tweedle added that the Alberta NDP plans to increase home care assistance for 20,000 Albertans over the next four years “so more seniors can get the care you need without having to leave your home.”

She added the party will also build more independent and communal seniors’ housing to create more choices for older Albertans. Expanding the seniors’ home repair program so more houses can be adapted to seniors’ needs was also promised.

As well, Tweedle said the Alberta NDP will restore the Seniors Drug Benefit to add spouses and dependents back into the program, while re-indexing and raising the Seniors Benefit that was reduced by the UCP to relieve pressure on low-income seniors.

As to where the extra money will come from for these program expansions, Baer said spending from Alberta’s surplus revenues will be re-prioritized and re-allocated.

“We will stop wasteful spending, stop corporate handouts to big businesses” and focus on bringing down the high cost of living for Alberta, she added.

Meanwhile, the UCP is also promising tax cuts to all Albertans if re-elected. Creating a new eight per cent tax bracket on income under $60,000 was promised by Smith. This would allow every Alberta earning $60,000 or more to save $760 – or over $1,500 per family. Albertans earning less than $60,000 would see a 20 per cent reduction to their provincial tax bill under this promised tax cut.

In other areas, the UCP has pledged money to programs for disabled Albertans, helped with senior’s transportation, invested in food banks, programs to help people who are homeless, and re-indexed AISH income supports after previously de-indexing them.

Lana Michelin

About the Author: Lana Michelin

Lana Michelin has been a reporter for the Red Deer Advocate since moving to the city in 1991.
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