It’s not Christmas in May!

How many times now have we seen prime minister Justin Trudeau pop out of Rideau Cottage with another package worth billions to offer succor to this group of Canadians or that? When asked about seniors, he just said, “They’re coming.” Well, he brought forward what they are doing for seniors the other day and I think Scrooge could have done better with a ‘Bah humbug!’

Maybe the prime minister does not know many seniors. The ones I know share the same problems. They are faced with constantly increasing costs while the volatile stock market plays havoc with their investments and retirement income funds. As they age, their buying power erodes and they can almost compute when it would be best for them to die. Mind you, I do not want covid-19 to rush that.

But, at this time of self-separation, it is actually difficult for seniors to spend much. If the government gives me any extra money this month, I will probably leave some of it in the bank for a while. My wife likes to cook, so we only order in occasionally. We are hardly going anywhere but our auto insurance rates go up. And we find grocery costs are climbing higher, we are paying more for our drugs and fat cats such as Bell Canada rip us off for Internet services. And where can we turn?

What seniors really need is a government that sticks with you. Seniors would do better with what the liberals promised last year. During the election, we were told that they would support a ten per cent increase in old age security (OAS) at age 75 and a 25 per cent increase in Canada pension plan (CPP) for survivors. That makes sense under current conditions.

We certainly need a realistic cost of living allowance with our CPP or with the OAS or guaranteed income supplement (GIS). Ideally, of course, it could all be combined in a guaranteed annual income system.

So next time Justin Trudeau pops out of the Rideau cottage cuckoo clock, I will just have to report to him that he and his neoliberal finance minister missed a good chance to help Canada’s seniors. This covid-19 might be thinning the ranks these days but they remain a viable force and those who are left will be out to vote next time.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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