09/13/2015 12:34 EDT | Updated 09/13/2016 05:12 EDT

Tom Mulcair Announces $1.8 Billion Health Care Plan For Seniors

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Tom Mulcair, leader of Canada?s main opposition New Democratic Party, speaks during an interview in New York, U.S., on Thursday, March 14, 2013. During a visit to Washington this week Mulcair told U.S. lawmakers and executives that he opposes the Keystone XL oil pipeline, according to the Edmonton Journal. Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

VANCOUVER — Tom Mulcair started another week of his campaign by making a health-care announcement in a key election battleground, where he said the NDP would spend $1.8 billion over four years to help provinces improve care for seniors.

At a Sunday event in Vancouver, Mulcair said the funding is designed to expand home care for 41,000 seniors, create 5,000 more nursing beds and improve palliative care services.

The NDP says it would work closely with the provinces to roll out the plan to respect their role in health-care delivery and target resources to areas identified at the provincial level.

"Hospital beds and emergency rooms are filled with patients who would be better served by home care or other options," Mulcair said.

"The NDP's plan not only provides seniors with comfort and care in their homes, it will relieve pressure on hospitals so they can provide urgent care to patients who need it."

Mulcair has taken aim at Stephen Harper's Conservatives on health, suggesting the federal government has abandoned a leadership role on the file.

He also used Sunday's event to criticize the Liberals.

"Unlike Justin Trudeau's reckless promise of multi-year deficits, the NDP will balance the budget and improve seniors care by asking corporations to pay their fair share," Mulcair said.

The NDP leader said he plans to release more details on his overall health-care plan ahead of Thursday's debate in Calgary, which will focus on the economy.

"The NDP's offer is built on a long-standing commitment to the well-being of families, a commitment that led Tommy Douglas to establish universal medicare," Mulcair said.

Mulcair's announcement on senior care has been praised by the Canadian Nurses Association, the Canadian Association of Retired Persons and the Canadian Medical Association.

He will spend Sunday evening in Vancouver as he continues to try to shore up support in B.C.

In 2011, the NDP claimed 12 seats in the province, up three from 2008, and it is now hoping to win as many as 24 this time around.

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