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B.C. election: Liberals promise free flu shots, NDP recommits to northern B.C. hospital

Click to play video 'Week one on the election campaign trail' Week one on the election campaign trail
Week one on the election campaign trail – Sep 26, 2020

British Columbia’s provincial election entered its sixth day Saturday, with both the BC NDP and BC Liberal leaders making announcements about health care.

NDP Leader John Horgan was campaigning in the province’s north, where he recommitted to doubling the size of Terrace’s Mills Memorial Hospital.

Horgan said the $441 million budget for the expansion was already approved in the 2020 budget, but that completing the hospital would require an NDP government.

Read more: B.C. election 2020 promise tracker: What the major parties are pledging

“We heard the stories of years and years of promises from the BC Liberals to take action to replace this decrepit building,” Horgan said at a media event.

“There’s been a lot of industrial activity in this region over the decades and having state-of-the-art, acute-care facilities are absolutely central to the people in the region.”

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Horgan was campaigning in the Skeena riding currently held by BC Liberal Ellis Ross.

Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson made his own health-related announcement at a virtual rally on Saturday.

Read more: B.C. 2020 election voter registration by phone or online closes Saturday

Telling supporters that BC does not need an “epidemic on top of a pandemic,” Wilkinson promised to make flu vaccinations free for all British Columbians who wanted one.

“Flu vaccinations have been available for people in some groupings, such as at-risk people and people over a certain age, but they’ve usually come at a charge of $25 or more for everyone else,” said Wilkinson.

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Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has previously said that “very few” people are not eligible for a free flu shot, and that access has been expanded this year to address people who may come in contact with vulnerable groups, such as seniors.

Read more: B.C. election 2020: Find your riding and candidates

Wilkinson again took aim at Horgan for calling an early election during a pandemic, saying that the NDP leader had “betrayed the trust of British Columbians.”

He also hinted at the broad strokes of his party’s platform, to be rolled out in the coming days, which he said would focus on economic recovery, crime and public safety, addictions treatment and affordable housing.

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BC Green Leader Sonia Furstenau spent Saturday campaigning in her home riding of Cowichan Valley.

Furstenau unveiled the first round of Green candidates beyond herself and Saanich North and the Islands incumbent Adam Olsen.

Read more: How Global News is covering the 2020 B.C. election

Nicola Supurling and Dan Hines competed for the party in the 2017 election.

The Greens are plan to announce more candidates and platform planks in the coming days.