Blaney advocates for seniors ministry, strategy

In a cabinet shuffle last year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Hamilton MP Filomena Tassi Minister for Seniors. The intent was to help government better understand the needs of seniors, and to ensure programs and services respond to Canada’s aging population. However, North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney said Tassi is limited as to what she can accomplish because she has no resources.

“All she can do is talk to the several ministries that she’s related to, and try to get them to spend those resources,” Blaney said Thursday in a media teleconference. “I think when you look at the growing population of seniors in our country, we need a ministry with some resources to do some planning. If we don’t, then we’re going to continue to see seniors and their families fall further and further behind.”

The number of seniors in Canada is expected to double by 2036. Blaney, who serves as Seniors’ Critic for the NDP, continues to advocate for a National Seniors Strategy to help struggling seniors.

“That’s seniors who can’t afford to make ends meet, having challenges with housing, having challenges with affording medication and having challenges just affording to feed themselves.”

She notes a recent increase to Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) payments worked out to just $12-16 more per month.

Blaney is concerned about a change in methodoloy used to measure poverty in Canada.

“When they (federal government) changed the method of how they measured poverty, seniors went from about 14 per cent to four per cent poverty. I would challenge anyone to talk to that other 10 per cent and ask them if their life has got any better. I believe that part of the challenge there is that the minister does not have her own ministry, does not have the capacity to do the research and the work for seniors across this country that desperately needs to be done. Seniors are still facing significant challenges.”

Unless Canada addresses those challenges — with a national seniors strategy mandated by the minister, with accountability measures in place — Blaney fears that seniors will continue to fall through the “holes that are developing in our system.”

Pharmacare proposal

Blaney has met with numerous residents challenged by a lack of access to pharmacare.

“One of the things we’re hearing again and again is that we need to make sure there’s medication that’s available for people. We have to remember to include their disease in part of that strategy.”

She said the NDP has proposed a single payer public pharmacare model — working together to ensure medication is affordable and accessible.

“Let’s buy collectively. Right now, all the provinces and territories are buying individually, which means their bargaining power is not as strong as it could be. If we all do this together, we can bargain more effectively and save some money.”

A report suggests $4 billion-plus could be saved each year from collective purchasing.

The party also advocates a single payer as a way to pay into the system to help people access medication.

Just Posted

Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society monthly update

More than 170 birds and mammals brought to Merville centre in July

Courtenay man acquitted of manslaughter

Court accepts accused Jonathan Billy’s argument of self-defence for 2017 incident

VIDEO: Courtenay woman reunited with missing dog

https://www.facebook.com/113985643290772/videos/2414437362166107/?__tn__=HH-R The Courtenay woman who had lost her dog for more than… Continue reading

Police continue to investigate machete attack

Police have canvassed nearly 200 businesses for video surveillance of the recent… Continue reading

Cricket players get interrupted by racist remark in Courtenay

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Build day engages young people in community

Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North (Habitat VIN) is partnering with Youth… Continue reading

New study suggests autism overdiagnosed: Canadian expert

Laurent Mottron: ‘Autistic people we test now are less and less different than typical people’

B.C. father tells judge he did not kill his young daughters

Andrew Berry pleaded not guilty to the December 2017 deaths

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

Rosemount cooked diced chicken linked to listeria case in B.C.

The symptoms of listeria include vomiting, nausea, fever, muscle aches

B.C. seniors allowed more choice to stay in assisted living

Province doesn’t need to wait for a complaint to investigate care, Adrian Dix says

Retired B.C. fisherman wins record $60M Lotto Max jackpot

Joseph Katalinic won the biggest Lotto Max prize ever awarded

Courtenay council gives nod to fourth cannabis retailer

At its Aug. 19 meeting, Courtenay Council denied an application for a… Continue reading

Most Read