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Progressive Conservative Leader David Alward promises to permanently freeze property tax assessments for people over the age of 65. ((CBC))

Progressive Conservative Leader David Alward is reaching out to seniors by promising anyone over 65 that he will freeze their property tax assessments permanently.

Alward made a series of commitments to seniors on Friday at a morning announcement in Fredericton.

The Tories highlighted the plan to freeze property tax assessments for all homeowners over the age of 65 permanently.

The property tax assessment pledge to seniors contrasts against a Sept. 1 commitment by the Tories to cap these increases to three per cent for the next two years if they win the Sept. 27 election.

The Liberals promised earlier in August that if re-elected they would freeze all property tax assessments for two years.

As well, Alward said he would provide tax breaks to make "senior-friendly" household renovations.

Alward took aim at the Shawn Graham Liberals at the announcement when he promised to restore a $5.5-million home-heating subsidy.

"Today, many New Brunswick seniors are vibrant and healthy. Many are still active participants in the workforce or as volunteers," Alward said in a statement.

"But others require support, care and attention and a new PC government will provide this compassionate care."

Among the other PC promises:

  • Give the provincial ombudsman oversight authority over nursing homes, special care homes and home-care services
  • Create a 1-800-seniors phone number for government information and services
  • Increase pay and benefits for senior care workers every year for the next four years
  • Ensure 3.5 hours of care per patient in nursing home settings over the next four years

Earlier in the campaign, the Liberals also planned to set up a phone number for seniors to call to access government services.

Liberal Leader Shawn Graham announced on Sept. 6 he would triple the number of seniors resource centres to 18 across the province, introduce a "seniors' bill of rights" and create positions called "seniors navigator" at Service New Brunswick outlets.

Seniors concerned

Some seniors do not believe that any of the parties running in the election will adequately address their issues.

J. P. Caron said he doesn't believe the political leaders are talking to seniors about what they believe are important issues in the election.

"Give us a chance to have an input into what the government decides they're going to do with seniors," Caron said.

"I don't know if they talk amongst themselves but they sure don't talk to the seniors to ask, 'Well what's your problems, what do you need?'"

Alward was asked how he plans to pay for these election promises.

He said New Brunswick voters will find out more details about cost when the party releases its full platform in the coming days.