Seniors’ Election Agenda

Sign that encourages voters to vote strategically is set up on Campeau drive in Kanata . James Park / Ottawa CitizenSign that encourages voters to vote strategically is set up on Campeau drive in Kanata on Monday.

 

I’ve been off the grid for several weeks due to a vacation and a family tragedy, But even in Europe we downloaded the replica versions of the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star and closely followed election polls.

In fact we voted in the advance polls because walking the dogs on a lovely Thanksgiving Monday to a local community seemed like the right thing to do and made me feel I was doing something to facilitate a change in government sooner rather than later.

But if you haven’t voted yet, you might been interested in the issues CARP is lobbying for on behalf of seniors and their summary of each of the major party’s position on the issue.

Party promises to older voters respond to a long list of issues CARP has long advocated for, including:

 

Party promises aligning with CARP’s core issues

CARP prepared a platform comparison chart that shows how each party has responded to CARP members’ priority issues.

Liberal Party

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau visited CARP’s headquarters in September to speak at a town hall meeting on many of CARP’s central issues. A video of the event is available here.

Trudeau introduced a basket of promises to reduce poverty in old age, improve homecare, and expand caregiver support, responding directly to many of CARP’s longstanding advocacy issues. The Liberals are now campaigning for older votes with the following promises:

  • Increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for single, low-income seniors by ten percent, giving one million seniors $920 more each year
  • Reverse the age of eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS) benefits, from 67 to 65
  • Introduce a new seniors’ price index to ensure OAS and GIS payments keep up with the real rising costs of living
  • Enhance the Canada Pension Plan (CPP)
  • Extend compassionate care leave
  • Invest $20 billion in social infrastructure, including seniors’ residences, rent-geared-to-income housing, and refurbishment of existing facilities
  • Maintain pension income-splitting for seniors
  • Join with provincial and territorial governments to buy drugs in bulk, reduce the cost Canadian governments pay for these drugs, and make them more affordable for Canadians
  • Restore home mail delivery

 

NDP

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair also made extensive promises on a list of CARP issues, including measures to increase financial supports for low-income seniors and investment for seniors’ healthcare:

  • Commit $1.8 billion to expand health care for seniors , including home care for 41,000 seniors, 5,000 more nursing beds, and improved access to end-of-life care, resources, and support
  • Develop and fund a $40 million National Alzheimer’s and Dementia Strategy to address these growing epidemics
  • Increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement by up to $400 million to aid 200,000 low-income seniors
  • Reverse the age of eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS) benefits, from 67 to 65
  • Establish a $30 million fund to improve access to end of life resources, services, and support
  • Invest $2.6 billion over four years to fund universal drug coverage via provinces
  • Streamline drug review and listing process to reduce costs
  • Restore home mail delivery

 

Conservative Party

During the 2011 election campaign, the Conservatives ran on a platform that ultimately delivered a $300 million increase to GIS and ended mandatory retirement federally, among other senior focused policies. The Conservatives’ Stephen Harper came into this election campaign having recently made a number of moves in the 2015 budget designed to garner the support of older voters. Including campaign promises, the Conservatives are offering to:

  • Create a $2,000 non-refundable Tax Credit for Single Seniors who have pension income
  • Increase TFSA contribution limits to $10,500 per year
  • Reduce RRIF rates to help prevent retirees from outliving their savings
  • Expand caregiver leave through EI from six weeks to six months for people who have to take time off from work to care for their loved ones
  • Negotiate with provinces to join the Pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance to jointly negotiate and lower the cost of brand name, publicly funded drugs

Whether or not you support the same initiatives as CARP, the important thing is that YOU AND EVER CANADIAN CITIZEN  YOU KNOW OVER 18 vote on Monday. Remember, if you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain!

 

1 Comment

  1. it’s remarkable that CARP has not raised the issue of seniors being allowed to access their illiquid funds in their permanent life insurance policies just like they are freely allowed to do so with the equity in their home through a reverse mortgage – while this is technically under provincial jurisdiction just like Medicare, the feds can authorize the banks under the Federal Bank Act which would trump the 80 year old insurance trafficking prohibitions in most provinces and could also get OSFI to bring in a uniform set of regulations for Nova Scotia , New Brunswick and Saskatchewan (which recently modernized its Insurance Act and outlawed the sale of life policies by its residents to any entity operating in that province)
    Ontario which has been waiting 15 years for FSCO to bring in Regulations to implement Schedule G of the Red Tape Reduction Act 2000 could then invite OSFI to regulate the life settlement industry on its behalf, even if it upsets CARP’s corporate partners the large multi-national and publicly-traded life insurance companies
    where is Joe Oliver who is himself a senior on this issue, which as his constituent I have brought to his attention on several occasions ??

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