B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan is promising a re-elected NDP government would “invest in new public long-term care homes and crack down on private operators who cut corners.”
Horgan made the promise during a Sept. 30 campaign stop in Surrey, where he claimed that COVID’s impact in long-term care homes “exposed the true costs of B.C. Liberal cuts and privatization to seniors care.”
Horgan said the NDP will build “new [and] better” public long-term care homes, and impose new regulations to ensure private care home operators “deliver the care they are paid to and are more accountable for the public dollars they receive.”
He also said the NDP would continue “levelling up” wages and benefits for care workers after the pandemic ends and spend $1.4 billion over 10 years “to eliminate multi-bed rooms” in health authority-owned long-term care facilities.
Horgan’s campaign promise came a day after the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) released the results of a poll it commissioned from Research Co.
The BCGEU said the poll shows a significant majority of British Columbians are concerned about for-profit corporations in the long-term care sector, with 73 per cent of respondents wanting to see the number of for-profit operators reduced and 71 per cent saying any new contracts for long-term care beds should go to not-for-profit operators.
Horgan said the NDP’s plan does not include phasing out private-sector ownership.
“I believe there can be a healthy mix, but those that are in the business for profit need to make sure that they’re meeting minimum standards and money that is transferred from the public to private providers needs to come with certain standards.”
Long-term care was a hot button issue on the Sunshine Coast during the 2017 election and the early months of the NDP government, because of the controversy around Vancouver Coastal Health’s contract with Trellis Seniors’ Services to build a new long-term care facility and close Shorncliffe and Totem Lodge.
The Trellis facility is just a few steps away from approval by the District of Sechelt, but the number of new beds is still short of anticipated needs.
Asked by Coast Reporter whether the promised $1.4 billion could be a source of funds to keep long-term beds at Shorncliffe or Totem as well, Horgan said, “I know, [NDP incumbent] Nick Simons and [Health Minister] Adrian Dix worked very closely with the community to get a good understanding of the challenges that they face with respect to the aging homes and the privatized one that the B.C. Liberals were putting into play in the community.”
Horgan went on to say he expected them to continue to work to “make sure people on the Sunshine Coast get the seniors care they deserve.”
For his part, Simons said he’s “quite confident that the Sunshine Coast will benefit” from the $1.4 billion in funding.
“We have two public facilities in Sechelt and other facilities, non-profit and public, throughout the riding,” he said. “My expectation is that the announcement speaks to the repurposing of Shorncliffe and Totem.”
Green candidate Kim Darwin responded to the NDP promise by calling it “typical NDP” and questioning the party’s commitment to public health care.
“They say one thing during an election and then often do another thing once elected,” she said. “The Sunshine Coast is already familiar with their actual commitment to public seniors care with the approval of the Trellis facility and the closure of our public ones. I don’t think anyone on the Coast will really fall for this.”
Darwin also said the Greens “definitely support” public not-for-profit care and have already pledged to invest heavily in programs that will allow more seniors to age in place.
Sandra Stoddart-Hansen of the Liberals said Horgan’s announcement lacked specifics.
“This plan doesn’t say how many new beds or facilities will be built for seniors,” she said in an email. “From what I can see, it is a plan with a 10-year horizon and doesn’t provide any immediate support.”
And, like Darwin, she questioned whether the NDP would follow through. “[Horgan] promised $10-a-day child care and didn’t deliver,” she said.
Stoddart-Hansen said the B.C. Liberals expect to unveil a plan soon that “will help people now.”
Simons defended the NDP government’s record.
“We have other opportunities for building new beds for seniors and our government had already begun the process of bringing up the standards at all long-term care homes, expecting workers to work in one facility and protecting wages and benefits,” he said.
“I think that a reasonable person would see that [$1.4 billion] as an important investment and one that goes towards meeting our long-term care needs… In the context of previous governments, the success we’ve had is significant.”
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Car Insurance for Canadian
Car insurance is vital, like snow days and maple syrup. Part of the Canadian experience. Not all countries need insurance policies by regulation as Canada does; the concept of a pay-as-you-go fuel tax has also been used as a substitute for traditional auto insurance in some areas. But, no matter how important it is, investing in the service is never the wrong decision. Insurance will save motorists from the economic burden of the ultimate inevitability of the road: accidents. They’re going to happen to everybody, no matter their experience or ability. Driving, like every other aspect of human life, is naturally a human mistake.
Also, the most experienced driver can be distracted in our current driving climate. With a reputable insurer, financial stability is only one thing to think about. Between the radio, the billboards, and the careless children thrashing around in the back seat, a few minutes on the road will provide more means of diverting someone’s attention than a few hours in front of the TV. All it takes is a misconstrued stop on a slippery day or a neglected shoulder search to cause thousands of dollars of harm to your property or the property of others. If the accident’s cost exceeds the price of the vehicle that caused it, auto insurance will save the driver from financial ruin. The protection in an appropriate strategy protects drivers in ways that the airbag has never been able to do.
The security provided by insurance is so vital that it has been obligatory for any Canadian who hopes to get behind the wheel. However, some jurisdictions offer consumers a preference as to who is protected by their auto insurance. Coverage is always mandatory, but the strategy is malleable. The right of motorists to monitor their plans and coverage does not end with the business either. Car insurance premiums are affected by a variety of factors. While some of these items are beyond the control of motorists, such as age and gender, they can still make many choices to lower their prices. Choosing a reliable vehicle, traveling shorter distances, and having fewer tickets are items drivers can do to keep their car insurance premiums as low as possible.
Some drivers, particularly new ones, are wary of individualized rates – paying different amounts for other people. Insurance firms, though, are not swindlers or profit-seekers. They’re just trying to keep auto insurance prices as reasonable as possible. A car that leaves the garage twice a week is less likely to have an accident than a car that goes twice a day. Station wagons are more comfortable to fix than imported sports cars. Every person has different driving habits, so it only makes sense to have a foreign car insurance policy. Acquiring a car insurance policy is more than just making a deal; it is the start of a friendship that will help the driver out in the toughest of times.
Some provinces in Canada, where motorists have too many car insurance options, any additional information could save the insured motorist thousands of dollars. It pays to be updated. The right strategy will keep you safe when anything else doesn’t matter where you’re in Canada.
When it comes to investing, don't believe everything you see on TV – TheChronicleHerald.ca
Interest in investing is hitting new highs. Discount brokers are flooded with applications and trading volumes are surging. Despite this renewed focus, some misunderstandings persist about the realities of investing.
To illustrate, let’s deconstruct an investment conversation that you might have with a friend, colleague, or advisor. It goes like this.
“A guy on TV says the economy is strong and stocks are going up. It seems like a good time to invest. I don’t see much downside so I’m buying high-dividend stocks for my RRSP.”
A guy on TV
Many investors think there are people who know where the market is going. Experts who know something the rest of us don’t. The reality is, they don’t. Their insights may be interesting and unique, but any conclusions related to market timing aren’t worth the cup of coffee you’re drinking. It’s impossible to call the market level a week, month or even year from now with enough consistency to be useful. Stock prices are determined by a myriad of factors, many of which we’re unaware of until after they’ve emerged.
The economy looks good. I’m buying.
At the core of most market calls is an economic forecast. This is unfortunate because the connection between what the economy is doing and where the stock market is going is flimsy at best. It’s true that economic activity affects corporate profits, which ultimately drive stock prices, but the relationship is sloppy and unpredictable. Consider the last decade — we had the slowest economic recovery in history and yet profit margins were at or near record levels throughout, as were stock prices.
It bears repeating. Mr. Market is not paying attention to today’s economic headlines. He’s focusing on what the news might be in 12 to 18 months. The corporations you’re investing in aren’t reading the headlines either. They’re too busy trying to move their businesses ahead.
A good time to invest
For an investor with a multi-decade time frame, anytime is a good time. Some points in time, however, will be more prospective than others. These are periods when returns are projected to be higher based on fundamentals like rising profitability, low valuations and/or extremely negative investor sentiment. To be clear, these factors won’t tell you what’s about to happen, but will provide a tailwind over the next three to five years.
Not much downside
When you own a stock, the range of possible outcomes is always wider than you expect. It’s hard to conceive of a holding going down 20, 30 or 40 per cent, especially when things are going well. Unfortunately, recent price moves have no predictive value, they just provide false comfort.
The future for a stock that has recently done well is just as uncertain as one that hasn’t. Indeed, it may be riskier because its price-to-earnings multiple is higher (if profits haven’t kept up with the stock price), its dividend yield is lower and shareholders’ risk aversion, a necessary ingredient for good returns, has melted into complacency.
The higher the better
We all love dividends, but too many investors choose stocks based solely on yield. This is a problem because yield is not a measure of value for a stock like it is for a bond. A company’s worth is derived from it’s potential to earn profits into the future. Dividends are simply the portion of those earnings that get distributed to shareholders.
Yield-obsessed investors often downplay the importance of the stocks’ second source of return — price appreciation. Ask yourself the question: What would you rather have, a $10 stock yielding five per cent that’s worth $8, or a $10 stock with a three per cent yield that’s worth $12?
If you want to focus on dividend income, start with a list of stocks that have an acceptable yield. From there build a diversified portfolio of holdings that are trading at or below what they’re worth.
In your RRSP?
When asked, “What should I do in my RRSP (or TFSA),” I have only one answer. The most important thing driving your RRSP strategy is the strategy you’re pursuing for your overall portfolio (including other registered accounts, taxable accounts, pensions and income properties). Anything you do in your RRSP has to roll up into your household asset mix. In that vein, RRSP contributions are a wonderful tool for adjusting your overall portfolio because transactions have no tax consequences.
Investing is hard enough without basing decisions on false premises. If you find yourself listening to someone pontificate about where the market is going, try to change the subject or look for an escape.
Tom Bradley is
chair and chief investment officer
at Steadyhand Investment Funds, a company that offers individual investors low-fee investment funds and clear-cut advice. He can be reached at
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020
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