Judy Galley, (front) her son Dustin and friend Isabella Elliot protest on the sidewalk outside Premier Christy Clark’s MLA office in West Kelowna Monday in support of better care for B.C. seniors. (Alistair Waters/Capital News)

Sending a message

Three protesters outside premier’s MLA office say province is failing seniors in care in B.C.

Only three people showed up to protest, but organizer Judy Galley said she wanted to send Premier Christy Clark a message anyway.

Galley expected to see more people gather in front of Clark’s West Kelowna MLA office Monday after enlisting the support of both the B.C. Nurses’ Union and the Hospital Employees Union. The gathering was aimed at highlighting what Galley sees as the government’s failure to uphold B.C.’s Patients’ Bill of Rights when it comes to seniors care.

With the B.C. Legislature set to reconvene this week, Galley said she wants the issue to be on the mind of the premier.

“There is a lack of enforcement and the (provincial) Seniors’ Advocate has reported nine out of 10 (seniors’ care) facilities do not meet minimum staffing guidelines,” she said.

Describing herself as an “independent seniors’ advocate,” the Salmon Arm woman said the need to bring the conditions that many seniors in B.C. live under to the public is important. And to improve them.

She said until she had to deal with her aging parents living in such conditions, she was unaware of what was going on in seniors’ care facilities. (She said she does not currently have parents in care.)

Galley said she chose to protest on the Family Day holiday, outside the closed MLA office of the premier, because it was fitting to do so on a day when British Columbians are thinking about, and spending time with, family.

But she said she was disappointed that no one turned out to join her, her son and a friend in the protest. Letters had gone out from both unions encouraging their members to show up.

In addition to the message Galley said she wanted to sent to Clark, she said she also had a message for seniors in this province.

“It’s a message of hope,” said Galley. “There are people willing to fight for a better quality of care for you.”

The protest was originally slated to be kicked off by a performance by the Raging Grannies, a group of socially concerned senior woman who lend their voices—literally— to a number of social causes.

But Galley said three of the four “grannies” who were to attend came down with the flu.

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