Se­niors have vested in­ter­est in elec­tion out­come

Cape Breton Post - - Editorial -

NDP? Lib­eral? Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive? Green? What’s a se­nior to do? Since my re­tire­ment in 1991 my ac­tiv­i­ties have been as­so­ci­ated with be­ing an ad­vo­cate for re­tirees and the se­nior com­mu­nity. I rep­re­sented re­tirees as pres­i­dent of the Nova Sco­tia Gov­ern­ment Re­tired Em­ploy­ees As­so­ci­a­tion. I also rep­re­sented se­niors as pres­i­dent of the Fed­er­a­tion of Se­nior Cit­i­zens & Pen­sion­ers of Nova Sco­tia.

While pres­i­dent of these or­ga­ni­za­tions there were gov­ern­ment poli­cies put for­ward that would im­pact di­rectly on the membership and/or the ma­jor­ity of the se­niors’ com­mu­nity in Nova Sco­tia.

The first bul­let came to the re­tired gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees in the form of a new method to cal­cu­late pos­si­ble pen­sion in­crease. The re­ac­tion? Bat­tle sta­tions and a march on the Leg­is­la­ture, but to no avail. The new method for cal­cu­lat­ing gov­ern­ment is in place.

FYI: The av­er­age gov­ern­ment re­tirees’ pen­sion is $19,320 per year.

The NDP ma­jor­ity gov­ern­ment did not re­ceive a sec­ond term. The new Lib­eral gov­ern­ment promised to re­visit with their in­volve­ment.

The sec­ond bul­let oc­curred in 2016 when the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced a new method to fi­nance Phar­ma­care. I can tell you it felt great as a se­niors’ ad­vo­cate when the se­niors’ com­mu­nity in­formed the gov­ern­ment of their dis­plea­sure. The gov­ern­ment im­me­di­ately with­drew, not can­cel, their pro­posal. The gov­ern­ment also promised con­sul­ta­tion with se­niors’ or­ga­ni­za­tions, se­niors and others across the prov­ince.

Se­niors’ or­ga­ni­za­tions have reg­u­larly in­quired about the con­sul­ta­tion process. The gov­ern­ment fi­nally re­sponded in March, 2017 when it an­nounced that Phar­ma­care would re­main the same for 2016-2017 and most re­cently it an­nounced it would re­main the same for 2017-2018.

That’s all good to 2017-2018 but the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment has shown their hand on Phar­ma­care. Their ra­tio­nal is that se­niors re­ceiv­ing a higher pen­sion should pay more for their par­tic­i­pa­tion in Phar­ma­care, part of the Health Care sys­tem of Nova Sco­tia. Shouldn’t we all pay the same for the same ser­vice?

In 2006, the Group of IXSe­niors Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee to gov­ern­ment had ne­go­ti­ated an agree­ment on Phar­ma­care that called for gov­ern­ment to pay 75 per cent of the costs and se­niors 25 per cent. This is presently still be­ing en­forced as a re­sult of the con­tin­ued an­nounce­ments re­lat­ing to Phar­ma­care.

In 2011, a new Fi­nan­cial Mea­sures Act was brought for­ward by the NDP gov­ern­ment. In 2016, a new fi­nanc­ing pol­icy for Phar­ma­care was brought for­ward by the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment. The promised di­a­logue by the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment on cor­rec­tive ac­tion to ad­dress these is­sues never ma­te­ri­al­ized. Funny how the bot­tom line is al­ways quoted by those at the top

The re­solve of the se­niors’ com­mu­nity in com­ing to­gether in March 2016 and the ex­pected ac­tion has been capped by an elec­tion. Elec­tions are an op­por­tu­nity for choice. Some are die-hard fans and sup­port their team. Many look at the can­di­dates to make their de­ter­mi­na­tion. Others look at the party’s pol­icy and track record. The rule is that elected can­di­dates will fol­low party pol­icy.

Over the years, my con­stituents have been the re­tirees, pen­sion­ers and se­niors of Nova Sco­tia. With the pro­vin­cial elec­tion in full swing, the de­ci­sion on what is done on May 30 will de­ter­mine our next four years.

Call me a con­cerned se­nior. Bernie LaRu­sic Syd­ney

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