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Sep. 20, 2021 | Monday
Editorials and Opinions
Letter: Politicians ignore us, we need a seniors movement
Letter

Dear editor:

As we head into another general election, there is an abundance of evidence there are two segments of our population that politicians of all stripes could care less about: seniors and Indigeneous people.

The latter I will address in a later letter except to state that their issues have resulted in political lip service for decades with no tangible results .

The latest to drop off the radar is the residential school gravesite scandal. Just another 24- to 72-hour TV and media headliner that has already disappeared from the front pages and editorials – until the next bombshell hits.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, always the opportunist, took advantage of this recent scandal by appointing an Aboriginal person (well-deserved, I may add ) as our new Governor General.

Ah, what this scandal-ridden prime minister and his party won't do for votes, plus, of course, the $6 billion day care package for Quebec. Do I hear pandering? Nothing yet for seniors during the first week of politicking, such as long-term care home solutions.

Addressing our seniors' age-old predicament, Trudeau has stiffed us again. During his 2019 election campaign he promised, and reneged twice on a 10 per cent boost to our Old Age Security (OAS ) at age 75 and a 25 per cent increase in the Canada Pension Plan for widows.

It's 2021 and I'm still waiting. Now he pours oil on the fire. As grocery prices go through the roof and gas prices skyrocket, we are expected to be elated with his latest vote-getting insult, a one-time taxable payout of $500.

That may buy you a couple of extra tanks of gas plus a coffee and doughnut at McDonald's but it sure as heck is not going to get my vote on top of the paltry $ 300 one-time COVID-19 payout back in July 2020.

Seniors simply do not figure in our provincial or federal big-picture planning. We are a dispensable commodity. We bore witness to this during the pandemic when we saw the manner in which for years oversight management of long-term care homes was non-existent. They were only institutional mass death centres for the elderly.

On March 3, 2020, Jeremy Warner in his U.K. Daily Telegraph article wrote: "COVID-19 might even prove mildly beneficial in the long term by disproportionately culling the elderly population."

Now we have gone from "Only the vulnerable will die" to "It's good the vulnerable will die." Others, worldwide, have expressed similar sentiments , noting, "It would ease the economic burden on our welfare system. "

Concurrent with these events, in October 2020, Premier Doug Ford enacted a legislative bill that shields and protects these bad actor care home owners from lawsuits.

It is significantly harder for residents and families to hold long-term care home owners legally liable. We will now be forced to prove there was "gross negligence" on the part of the caregiver.

To my knowledge there has been no legal action (nor is there likely to be ) provincially or federally, taken against any care home owners. With thousands of deaths, they got off scot-free. Remember these facts during Trudeau's and Ford's re-election campaigns .

So here we stand today, individual voices are summarily dismissed and ignored when it comes to effecting change. Not so with an aggressive bulldog and dogmatic well-organized group.

This is evident here in NOTL with the results achieved by organized taxpayers in Garrison Village, Chautauqua plus the SORE group opposing the Rand Estate proposal. They have moved the dial and forced our council into some long overdue, positive decision-making .

Accordingly, I am proposing an aggressive, active and focal "Senior lives matter" movement, formed and founded by the siblings of the thousands of deceased parents who died in our long-term care death warehouses. Many were lost in conditions that will sear our memories forever contemptible and dispicable on behalf of our elected officials. Yet nothing will change.

Why would I propose such an action? Simply because our collective advocate groups have been ineffective and failed to move the needle with our elected officials on numerous sobering seniors' issues. Long-term care homes are but one.

Unless we advocate for a sea change via a strong movement, millions of our current seniors and their siblings are destined to suffer the same degrading ending to their lives.

Is this the ending you want to look forward to? Picture the scenes we witnessed on television – degrading and scandalous. Criminal for sure, but Doug Ford and others circled the wagons to protect the owners of care homes. We have to hold them accountable. Another George Floyd situation where only the Black Lives Matter movement pressed for justice and won.

Clearly the flavour of the day, to achieve our goals is a movement. Without one we are chasing our tails and subject to years and years of more political lip service.

Witness the overwhelming success of the following Black Lives Matter, #MeToo and LGBTQ. Movements are unquestionably powerful and get things done. Duplicate their strategies for change and watch our politicians squirm.

Finally , do we have any social media savvy siblings in NOTL (I think so) to spread the word nationally on this proposal? Or at least initiate a dialogue and hopefully form a movement that can initiate a sea change and subsequent paradigm shift in how seniors are treated, not only here in Canada, but worldwide.

Perhaps some correspondence with Lisa LaFlamme at CTV National News? 

Will a leader emerge from NOTL or the Niagara region to champion this cause which I feel very passionate about. Get this proposal out to your friends here and in other provinces. There are thousands of grieving siblings to connect with who may wish to get involved .

Your thoughts and comments, for or against, would be greatly appreciated.

Samuel Young

NOTL

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