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Saturday, July 13, 2024
Opinion: In defence of Liberals’ record on supporting seniors

Andrea Kaiser
Special to The Lake Report

I am writing in response to a letter to the editor that appeared in The Lake Report on Feb. 25 that characterized our federal Liberal government's record on supporting seniors as “fake news” (Letter, “Seniors only matter when politicians want their vote“).

Because the letter specifically referred to me by name, I feel it is appropriate for me to reply with some facts.

The letter stated: “Ottawa announced a paltry $300, one-time COVID-19 payment to seniors, with a strong inference of a further payout. None materialized.”

I would like to point out two important facts in relation to this comment.

First, seniors received between $300 and $500 through this COVID-19 relief payment depending on income level.

Second, the federal government’s 2021 budget included a second COVID-19 relief payment of $500 that is coming this August to Old Age Security recipients aged 75-plus.

The letter also stated the government’s promise to boost Old Age Security payments by 10 per cent for seniors 75-plus during the last election was “more fake news.” 

The reality is Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland delivered on that promise in the government’s first budget since the last election.

Thanks to Freeland’s leadership, seniors aged 75 and older will receive an additional $766 per year (rising with inflation) under the Old Age Security Program. This is definitely not “more fake news” but rather “promise made, promise kept.”

The Liberals' record on supporting seniors and enhancing retirement security is clear. One of the first things they did after forming government in 2016 was enhance the Canada Pension Plan to provide more money for pensioners over the long term. Once fully implemented, this change will provide retirees with up to $4,390 more in CPP support a year.

Secondly, the government turned back the clock on former PM Stephen Harper’s plan to raise the age of eligibility for Old Age Security to 67 from 65. This will mean thousands of dollars back in the pockets of seniors.

Using the maximum monthly payment amount for OAS from April to June 2016 ($570.52), that would mean an extra $13,692.48 for seniors over two years.

Lastly, the Liberals have raised the Guaranteed Income Supplement by up to $947 per year, benefitting about 900,000 seniors, most of whom are single women.

I understand that life is expensive for seniors living on fixed incomes and believe all seniors deserve to retire with dignity.

As MP for Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls and Fort Erie, I will always advocate for enhanced income support for seniors, because our seniors deserve nothing less. They built this country we are so lucky to call home.

Andrea Kaiser is the federal Liberal candidate for the federal riding of Niagara Falls, which includes Niagara-on-the-Lake.


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