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Childcare, healthcare hot topics during John Horgan’s Penticton visit

The NDP government today pledged $2.9 million to provide 116 full-time childcare spaces

On a tour through B.C.’s interior, NDP leader John Horgan visited Penticton today (Oct. 17) and talked with locals about healthcare, childcare and housing.

Horgan stopped by the Penticton Safety Village, where the NDP government has pledged $2.9 million in upgrades. The investment will provide a new facility which will accommodate 116 full-time childcare spaces.

The group, including NDP Penticton candidate, Toni Boot, met with families at the safety village before gathering at Slackwater Brewing downtown Penticton.

Parents spoke with Horgan about how transformative it is to reduce childcare fees. Individuals at the brewery spoke about the importance of urgent and primary care.

When asked how he plans on supporting Okanagan tourism-based businesses through COVID-19, Horgan acknowledged the seriousness of improving the economy.

“This has been devastating for operators, devastating for communities,” said Horgan, pointing to the NDPs November decision to implement a $300 million fund to support them. This, he said is set to be awarded to businesses in the form of grants, through the winter season.

He said that despite encouraging British Columbians to support local businesses, millions of people who would normally come to the province during the summer, didn’t. He pointed to the upcoming winter season which he said is an opportunity for people to explore their backyards and support the local economy.

“If you don’t know how to ski, this is the time to learn… We’re going to be there with grants, we’re going to be there to make sure that we reduce their costs as much as we can, until we get out from underneath this darned pandemic.”

READ MORE: Horgan on delayed tourism, small business aid: ‘It’s happening now, dude’

Asked what the NDP government will bring to the interior region, and why they have not campaigned more here during the election, Horgan pointed to a ceiling cost on election campaigns. He said they have done as much as they can to get around to every corner of the province.

Prior to this, Horgan was in Merritt, Kamloops, and after Penticton was off to Oliver.

“I believe that our offer… particularly to those in the South Okanagan is to continue to see a reviving of the economy on the agriculture side,” said Horgan, adding that the NDP government has invested ‘a ton’ of money into the tree fruit industry.

He also spoke about the NDPs efforts to support the wine industry, and reduce internal trade barriers in order to send Okanagan wine to more parts of Canada.

Horgan also pointed to the importance of investing in urgent and primary care centres, childcare and education in the Okanagan.

“I believe that the primary care network system is the solution to healthcare in the future,” he said.

READ MORE: B.C. Liberals pledge $750M to build or buy more social housing

READ MORE: Vernon-Monashee candidate’s campaign sign vandalized with racist, crass graffiti

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Phil McLachlan

About the Author: Phil McLachlan

Phil McLachlan is the editor at the Penticton Western News. He served as the reporter, and eventually editor of The Free Press newspaper in Fernie.
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