VANCOUVER – Tom Mulcair plans to spend the week outlining his prescription to improve health care as the NDP leader announced a plan Sunday tailored for the well-being of seniors.
Mulcair began this week of the campaign in Vancouver, where he unveiled a plan to spend $1.8 billion over four years to help the provinces bolster care for seniors if his party forms government.
The NDP says the initiative would expand home care for 41,000 seniors, create 5,000 more nursing beds and improve palliative care services.
“Hospital beds and emergency rooms are filled with patients who would be better served by home care or other options,” Mulcair said, vowing to work closely with the provinces before implementing the proposal.
WATCH: Mulcair says healthcare will be a defining issue
“The NDP’s plan not only provides seniors with comfort and care in their homes, it will relieve pressure on hospitals so they can provide urgent care to patients who need it.”
Mulcair has taken aim at Stephen Harper’s Conservatives on health, suggesting the federal government has abandoned a leadership role on the file.
He also cranked up his attacks at Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
“Unlike Justin Trudeau’s reckless promise of multi-year deficits, the NDP will balance the budget and improve seniors care by asking corporations to pay their fair share,” Mulcair said.
The Liberals swiftly pushed back.
“By adopting Stephen Harper’s budget and rushing to eliminate the deficit in just six months, Mulcair can’t possibly deliver on new funding for seniors’ health-care,” said Hedy Fry, the Liberal candidate for the riding of Vancouver Centre.
“He will have to break his promise and impose cuts.”
Mulcair said he plans to release more details on his overall health-care plan ahead of Thursday’s debate in Calgary, which will focus on the economy.
WATCH: The West Block’s Tom Clark joins the leader of the NDP for part of his national campaign for a peek at life behind the scenes and a sit down interview on the biggest issues.
Mulcair said unlike his rivals, the NDP has also provided a full costing of his promises before the debate.
“Thank you for reminding Canadians that the only party that has undertaken to provide a full costing before Thursday’s debate on the economy is the NDP,” Mulcair told reporters following his announcement.
“I am hoping that you and some of your colleagues will be asking that question of Mr. Trudeau, of Mr. Harper. ‘Where’s your costing? Where’s your money going to be coming from? What are you going to be doing differently? What are your priorities?”‘
The NDP announcement on senior care has been praised by the Canadian Nurses Association, the Canadian Association of Retired Persons and the Canadian Medical Association.
Mulcair is set to hold another event in Vancouver on Monday morning as he continues to try to shore up support in B.C., a province considered to be a key battleground for the New Democrats.
In 2011, the NDP claimed 12 seats in the province, up three from 2008, and it is now hoping to win as many as 24 on Oct. 19.