NDP hopeful Michael Crawford emphasizes healthcare

Jobs and the economy, and healthcare are two of the issues voters should consider in a federal election, according to New Democratic candidate Michael Crawford.

“I have spent quite a bit of time in the North Thompson since the 2008 campaign talking to people and I know that the recession is far from over for so many,” he said. “Communities are struggling to recover and families are finding the rising cost of living a real burden.”

The NDP hopeful noted that regional unemployment continues to be higher than the national and provincial averages and that the forest sector remains shaky. Tourism has not replaced well-paying jobs lost when mills closed. He felt the North Thompson could use a significant injection of funding to increase infrastructure needed by businesses that might be interested in setting up in Barriere, Clearwater, Blue River, and Valemount.

Natural gas, hydro, and reliable high-speed Internet service are lacking now, he noted.

“As the population ages healthcare becomes more important and making sure people don’t have to travel too far for health care service should be a priority,” Crawford said. “Good healthcare in a community keeps families in the community and makes communities more sustainable.”

The New Democrat noted that federal transfer payment to B.C. expires in 2014 and local residents need to make sure Ottawa renews the contract and doesn’t short-change the province, forcing it to cut back.

“When B.C. cuts back, rural areas get hurt the most,” he observed. “Jack Layton asked Harper to include funding for training more doctors and nurses in the recent budget, and Harper ignored him; and worse, he turned his back on rural communities like those in the North Thompson.”

Crawford said the New Democrats asked for thousands of more health care professionals to be trained. However, he said Harper’s budget doesn’t provide for a single additional doctor or nurse.