Tuesday, August 4, 2015
McCreath responds to questions from Constituent:
The following questions came into facebook.com/votejennifermccreath:
"Hi Jenn, I have to ask you something. What are your plans for helping those who are on income support, disability and pension? Are you going to help those who have to choose between eating and heating our homes in winter? Those who can't get transportation to and from appointments and have to pay out of pocket for cabs and bus fair? Affordable housing, better drug plan for seniors, better dental plans, more help for parents who have disabled children no matter what their IQ or age. The legalization and fair distribution of medical marijuana for those who need it without being arrested. these are just some of the concerns that need to be addressed. I have sent this to Seamus O'Regan and Earle McCudy with no response."
Here is my response question by question. I encourage everyone to send in questions, and let's get a good dialogue going for the duration of this campaign. Ultimately, I want to hear about your problems, and hear your ideas and solutions, so that I can take them to Ottawa on your behalf, if elected.
What are your plans for helping those who are on income support, disability and pension? Are you going to help those who have to choose between eating and heating our homes in winter?
I definitely think we need to take a closer look at how we do income support, disability support and pensions. If the federal pensions are unfair or inadequate, then the Federal Government needs to take a direct role in reviewing the programs and coming up with solutions that meet the needs of the people who collect these benefits.
As far as the provincial programs (as most income support and disability benefit programs are provincial), I think there is a strong role in which the Federal Government, and/or individual Federal MPs, can work together in collaboration with the province, to make sure that we share information, statistics, and studies, so that we can both work together to make sure that all programs, no matter whether they are federal or provincial, can meet the needs of the citizens.
Finally, if there are cases where the province does not appear willing to offer solutions, then perhaps there is a place for the Federal Government to step in and create and offer additional programs, services, and benefits.
Ultimately, I have serious concern over the fact that the various Provincial Governments of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Federal Governments of Canada, have not gotten along very well over the past ten years. I hope that if elected, I can use my experiences in consensus-building, to help get both governments on the same page, working together, to solve problems. No government should ever simply sit back and say 'that's not our problem'.
What about those who can't get transportation to and from appointments and have to pay out of pocket for cabs and bus fair?
It definitely concerns me to hear that this is still an issue. It is a clear sign that the existing programs in place by the Provincial Government, is not working. Much like the previous question, I will commit to taking a look and see what the Federal Government can do to work with the province to ensure their programs are more comprehensive. Likewise, if there's a way the Federal Government can create programs that would compliment or fill in the gaps left by the province, then this is what I would look to do.
Also, one of the key visions for my party, Strength In Democracy, is to empower the regions, and in this case, I would hope that steps could be taken to build better services in the regions all over Avalon, so that there would be less of a need for citizens to travel to the big city to get what they need out of government health entities.
What about Affordable housing?
Affordable housing was one of the key pillars for which I campaigned on back in 2013 as a candidate in the municipal election. Here was my platform at that time:
- Create incentives for developers to build lost-cost housing units, such as apartment buildings, condos, and townhouses.
- Come up with a fair system that will allow landlords to make sufficient profit, yet not gauging the tenants with excessively high rental increase prices that are above the rates of inflation
- Carefully manage the mill rate so that homeowners are not excessively dealing with tax increases due to the substantial increase in property values
Now, fast forward two years later, and here I am as a Federal candidate, and I still believe in these goals, both for St. john's, and for the entire Avalon peninsula. It would be my intention to work with municipal governments to ensure that they look at these solutions.
I also feel that affordable housing is something that all levels of government need to look at. I think specifically, the Federal Government could look at creating some of their own programs that would create incentives for developers to build low cost housing units in the various regions of the riding of Avalon.
Better drug plan for seniors?
Personally, I think we need better drug plans for everyone who can't afford them. The Canada Health Act has five principles that include public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, portability, and accessibility. If the provinces are not delivering health products and services that meet the needs of all citizens, then I think the federal government needs to step in with some sanctions and order power. Nobody should have to go without prescription drugs that are recommended by their doctors.
Ultimately, I think the federal government needs to sit down with the provincial department of health and review their policies and programs, and make recommendations on how it can be improved. I also think the Federal governments need to be given more power to intervene and force the provinces to adhere to these standards, because at this point, they take a very hands-off approach and trust the provinces to run themselves without having to be accountable to anyone.
Better dental plans?
Much like my comments about access to prescription drugs, I have never understood why dental issues were not considered under health care. In my opinion, healthy teeth are a part of a healthy life, and I think dental health care programs should be covered under the provincial health care program, and should fall under the principles of the Canada Health Act. this would be another issue I would add to the agenda for the discussions I would like to see the feds have with the provinces.
The legalization and fair distribution of medical marijuana for those who need it without being arrested?
If a doctor recommends marijuana for medical purposes, then steps need to be taken to ensure the patient has easy access to the product. I would treat this like any other prescription and suggest that the provinces adhere to the same five principles of the Canada Health Act. I was actually under the impression that marijuana was already accepted as legal, when prescribed by a doctor. If there is a specific incident where a patient is having problems, then i'd love to hear more details and i will go to bat for them to rectify the situation.
More help for parents who have disabled children no matter what their IQ or age?
I think this is definitely a case where the Federal government can do more, and should do more. I'd like to review the list of existing services currently provided by the province, and try to come up with some ways in which the federal government can add value, either by giving more funding to new initiatives, or contributing more resources currently in place to collaborate with the province for a better overall list of options. I'd also like to create incentives for non-profit organizations that are currently out there offering services of these nature and potentially come up with new additional federal programs that would allow them do deliver a higher level and higher quality of service.
Strength In Democracy Candidate - Avalon, NL
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