Kathy Dunderdale suggests people look at the Progressive Conservative home care platform before slamming it.
She was responding to a comment the president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) made in a news release Wednesday.
Carol Furlong used the words “horrible” and “discriminatory” to describe the policy, which includes developing a model that would see family members paid for providing care.
The union leader stated that would result in less care for someone who doesn’t have a family member available.
“Home care should be based on a person’s individual needs,” Furlong said, “not availability of relatives to work for minimum wage and no benefits.”
She called on Dunderdale to reconsider the policy.
But the Tory leader said in a media scrum Furlong has it wrong.
“People should really read the Blue Book and understand the policy before they start critiquing it. All we’re saying in terms of home care, we’re expanding home care. We’re going to put more money into home care. We’re going to modify how it’s regulated.”
Dunderdale explained the model being developed would allow home care recipients to receive the same amount of money whether they were being cared for by a family member or a home care agency.
She said it’ll still be up to the client who they hire.
“But instead of hiring somebody down the road, they can now hire somebody in their family. That’s the only change in terms of who delivers their care.”
Dunderdale said families have asked that such a system be put in place. She added it should ultimately result in savings for government.
“If people are kept healthy in their own homes for longer, we’re keeping them out of hospital beds and acute care beds, which are much more expensive to maintain and operate.”
Dunderdale spoke to the media outside a seniors home in Lewisporte, where she spent part of the morning campaigning with candidate Wade Verge.
The Tory bus then travelled Route 340 to Twillingate in support of incumbent Derrick Dalley.
One of the stops there was the Eastern Star Group. The plant dries shrimp shells and sends them to China where they are used in making glucosamine.
Other stops Thursday included New World Island and Musgrave Harbour, with the latter being in hopeful Eli Cross’ district.
But while Dunderdale campaigned on the northeast coast, St. John’s was on the mind of some PC colleagues.
The Tories are being challenged by the NDP in a couple of capital city districts.
Asked about those races, Dunderdale said such battles help make the election exciting.
“The worst thing you can have in an election is complacency. So when you get a few races on, that’s a good thing. That gets the blood circulating and everybody out and up, and I’m confident that we’re going to do well in those seats.”