Duelling promises as NDP and PC leaders campaign in Labrador

Better health care travel subsidies and a northern strategic plan were promised Monday as two party leaders campaigned for votes in different parts of Labrador.

Better travel subsidies, more long-term care beds

PC Leader Paul Davis speaks with reporters in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. 2:25

Better health care travel subsidies and a northern strategic plan were promised Monday as two party leaders campaigned for votes in different parts of Labrador.

New Democrats pledged more help for patients who have to travel far from home for medical care.

"Notwithstanding the big new hospital here, there's a lot of treatments that people have to travel to get," said NDP leader Earle McCurdy as he campaigned with Labrador West candidate, Ron Barron, in a district the party has held twice before in the legislature.

NDP candidate Ron Barron and leader Earle McCurdy promise more help for people who have to travel outside Labrador for medical care. (CBC)

McCurdy said the NDP will increase funding to the Medical Transportation Assistance Program by $1.7 million and double the reimbursement rate for individuals from Labrador to $2,000 annually.

"The cost of travelling from rural and remote communities in Labrador often far exceeds $1,000, leaving hundreds of dollars in travel expenses that must be paid out of pocket," said McCurdy.

The improvements would also benefit families on the island who have to travel for medical care.

McCurdy said the NDP would no longer require them to pay the first $400 of their expenses. He said the party would also eliminate the 50 per cent co-payment required up front for airfare. 

"It isn't fair to the patient or their families to have to raise the money to pay for travel for a medical appointment," said McCurdy.

"We believe that the people of our province should not have to go into debt or borrow from families just to get the medical treatment they need. It isn't fair and doesn't make sense."

Tories in Lake Melville

PC Leader Paul Davis was making promises of his own in Lake Melville district, which has been held by the party since 2003.

Paul Davis and Keith Russell visit the Nunakatiget community freezer in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, which helps seniors and the disabled get berries, fish and game. (CBC)

He said the PCs will implement a new northern strategic plan for Labrador, working to expand the port in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and upgrading infrastructure there.

"We believe that we're well positioned to be the gateway to the Arctic and, in order to do that, we have to look at where those opportunities lie."

Davis repeated a pledge to expand the long-term care home in Happy Valley-Goose Bay by providing an additional $5.8 million to increase capacity from 50 to 70 residents.

He said there will also be a new domestic violence court in Labrador and repeated his commitment of more support for the local crisis shelter.

Davis and PC candidate Keith Russell visited a community freezer which help supply seniors and people with disabilities with berries and fish.

In an area where the cost of healthy food is high, Davis promised better airlift subsidies for fresh milk and other perishables.

The PCs also pledged support for the NunatuKavut land claim.