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Seniors stage rally outside office of Nelson-Creston MLA

A protester holding a sign speaks with a person from the media during Tuesday's rally outside the office of Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall. (Below) Seniors with signs protest at the Nelson office of Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. — Submitted photo

The shoe appears to be on the other foot for Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall now that the NDP hold the power in the BC Legislature as special interest groups line up for a piece of the financial pie.

Tuesday, in Nelson, more than a dozen seniors staged a rally outside the office of Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, attempting secure additional funding for home care in the Heritage City — funds organizers said were promised by the former Liberal government.

Organized by the Nelson Seniors Coordinating Society, protesters said seniors need more support at home.

The seniors say the funds would assist the elderly with simple, everyday tasks of getting to and from appointments, having prescriptions filled or going to the hospital.

“Yesterday, members and supporters of the Nelson & District Seniors Coordinating Society picketed my office over home care funding concerns,” Mungall, who was in Victoria at the time of the rally, said in an emailed statement.

“This is clearly an important issue, and I too want to see more home care services in our community.”

Mungall said she was somewhat perplexed about the protest, as staff at the Nelson have been working in a transparent and open manner with the society.

“To date my staff has met with the chair of the Society on numerous occasions, spoken with Ministry of Health staff, and provided advice on best steps forward – including helping the society with applications as well as submitting their concerns to the Select Standing Committee on Finance’s budget consultations,” Mungall explained.

“These offers have so far been declined.”

Mungall said she understands the concerns of the society and would like to know when, and how much, funding is coming.

However, the NDP government is working through the budget process.

“This is an established process for how the Province develops its budget, and it would be inappropriate to pre-empt that process for any one group,” she said.

 “My office remains committed to working with community organizations to help them be successful.”

The peaceful protest lasted through most of the lunch hour Tuesday as organizers canvassed the walking traffic to sign their petition.