Seniors have vested interest in election outcome
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