Recently a booklet titled “Saskatchewan’s Team in Ottawa” arrived in my mailbox. In it, Conservative MP Rosemarie Falk states seniors have never been a priority for the Trudeau government but she gives no specifics. What I find interesting is Ms. Falk’s suggestion that Conservatives would help seniors by using “common sense measures to help seniors access more of their savings.” Exactly how will that help seniors? Is that like a CHIP reverse mortgage or what?
A year ago, Jan Malek of the Council of Canadians said Conservative Mike Harris’s government (2002), “reduced the public role in long-term care, relaxing regulations and lessening public oversight ... Under the Harris government, the growing corporate business of caring for seniors flourished and corporate players such as Sienna Senior Living, Revera, Extendicare and Chartwell expanded their reach, providing seniors with independent living, assisted living and long-term care housing – for a price.” It was a big part of Harris’s Common Sense Revolution in Ontario. (“Harris has profited a lot from his part-time boardroom-based job with Chartwell, he was paid $229,500 last year.” ‑ Malek)
In May 2020, the Toronto Star reported that “three of the largest for-profit nursing home operators in Ontario, which have had disproportionately high numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths, have together paid out more than $1.5 billion in dividends to shareholders over the last decade.”
This is just a typical example of how common sense Conservative governments look after corporate interests and fail to look after seniors.
Low income seniors in and around North Battleford used to have a nice place to live at Valleyview Towers. There was a waiting list when my mother moved into Tower II in 1998. When she moved out four years ago, living conditions were deteriorating. A recent News-Optimist article suggests that of the 89 units in Tower II more than 50 are vacant and a large number uninhabitable. This is a recent and home-grown example of how poor management by a Conservative (Sask. Party) government has failed local seniors.
If MP Rosemarie Falk, the Shadow Minister for Seniors, wants us to believe Conservatives are all about “improving the health, financial security and well-being” of seniors, she will have a tough job convincing some of us, especially if she offers to help low income seniors access more of their savings as a common sense solution.