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Saturday, August 13, 2022
Letter: Seniors get forgotten, again

Dear editor:

A news report last week stated that more, and more less fortunate, seniors from NOTL, are using the Newark Neighbours food bank to supplement their food needs.

This comes at a time when our federal government is once again treating seniors as second-class citizens by delaying their  $300 to  $500 COVID-19 aid payout by another month. Just another signal that “Senior Lives Don't Matter.” 

First announced on May 12, the latest payout date has been delayed another month to July 12, with no assurance that this date will not be delayed further.

No urgency here when you consider other aid was paid out in days.

An additional setback for seniors is the prime minister renegeing on his re-election campaign promise, made in New Brunswick, to increase old age security by an extra 10 per cent once a senior reaches age 75 , and boost the CPP survivor's benefit by 25 per cent, to take effect July 2020. So much political puffery.  

Clearly seniors lack  the magaphone afforded Black Lives Matter. We are under-represented in Queen's Park and Ottawa by our elected members of parliament, MPP Wayne Gates and MP Tony Baldinelli. Their silence is deafening.

 Perhaps we need a “Senior's Lives Matter” movement and plan a demonstration outside Queen's Park, on Parliament Hill etc. This would be quite a spectacle: seniors in wheelchairs, walkers etc., quite an embarrassing picture on national TV and the world stage.

Seniors are shuffled to the back of the queue repeatedly. For example, wait times for hospital tests and procedures are longer for seniors.

My personal experience was as follows. In November 2017 I suffered an acute attack of sciatica. After months of physiotherapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, drugs and numerous tests here in Canada and California, I am left with permanent nerve damage in my leg and foot.

In December 2017, a month after my attack, I was referred for an epidural steroid Injection. I received a call for the procedure in December 2018, (that's correct one year later). I cannot print my response to their phone call here.

Finally on a local matter and to give seniors a break. I broached the issue of senior residents parking stickers with Lord Mayor Betty Disero prior to reviewing and finalizing the 2020 budget.

My proposal was to issue seniors stickers free of charge, in addition to increasing all residents' parking time to two hours from the current one hour. This would afford our residents the opportunity to better support our local merchants.

One hour is insufficient time to say, visit the post office and grab a relaxing coffee or lunch, without being penalized with the cost of a parking ticket. To my knowledge this proposal was DOA – dead on arrival.

I would now add to this proposal: Assign a dedicated number of resident parking spots behind the Old Court House. Even with the paid stickers it is nigh impossible to find a spot. Paid parking for tourists is obviously the town's priority.

Ah, “Niagara-on-the Take,” as more and more residents and visitors refer to us.

Samuel Young