Com­mons bills have eye on se­niors

Sackville Tribune - - OPINION -

It goes with­out say­ing, if you have the num­bers, your pet is­sues will be duly no­ticed by those in power. In other words, it’s in­creas­ingly look­ing like what af­fects se­niors will be an area where po­lit­i­cal par­ties give full at­ten­tion if they want votes. And, suf­fice it to say, that’s the name of the game for them.

Some cur­rent jock­ey­ing in the House of Com­mons should come as no sur­prise then.

Is­sues af­fect­ing the el­derly were high­lighted in bills tabled by two par­ties Thurs­day. The Con­ser­va­tives are eye­ing tougher sen­tences for peo­ple con­victed of el­der abuse.

The NDP, for their part, are keep­ing tabs on an­other hot-but­ton is­sue: an­tic­i­pated changes to age el­i­gi­bil­ity for Old Age Se­cu­rity. The Of­fi­cial Op­po­si­tion wants pro­vi­sions in place that would au­to­mat­i­cally reg­is­ter se­niors for the guar­an­teed in­come sup­ple­ment.

If the lat­ter is suc­cess­ful, it sug­gests a bit of give-and-take where pen­sion pol­icy is con­cerned. NDP MP Lau­rin Liu says about 135,000 low-in­come se­niors miss out on col­lect­ing the pen­sion top-up be­cause of ad­min­is­tra­tive hur­dles - although that fig­ure is from a 2005 study and re­forms since then might have low­ered the num­ber.

As it stands now, se­niors, even if they are el­i­gi­ble, have to ap­ply for the ben­e­fit. The 2007 change means that once they qual­ify, the ben­e­fit is re­newed each year through their in­come tax re­turn in­for­ma­tion.

The NDP want to see that ini­tial en­rol­ment is also au­to­matic - help­ing to en­sure all who need that ex­tra bit get it. It might be a small num­ber af­fected, yet this rem­edy be­ing put for­ward sounds like a sim­ple mea­sure.

That sup­ple­ment is meant for the lower-in­come pen­sion­ers. So if we are to see changes in com­ing years, and that’s the seg­ment of the pop­u­la­tion where ex­tra at­ten­tion is needed.

We can ex­pect more of that from the par­ties as this seg­ment of the pop­u­la­tion grows. And if the at­ten­tion isn’t forth­com­ing of the politi­cians’ own ac­cord, well, we all know about the squeaky wheel.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.