MP wants a plan for seniors

Gord Johns gave his first full speech in the House of Commons on Friday

Courtenay-Alberni’s first MP gave his first full speech in the House of Commons Friday calling for a national seniors’ strategy.

“Having the highest median age for seniors in my riding, I see firsthand the results of not having a seniors’ strategy, and not having a strategy for dementia and Alzheimer’s,” Johns said in Ottawa.

Asked afterwards by The NEWS to elaborate on what exactly a “seniors’ strategy” would entail, Johns referred to the NDP’s National Strategy on Aging in Canada.

The eight-page document calls on the federal government to: restore the age of eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) to 65 and raise GIS rates; negotiate with the provinces to improve the Canada Pension Plan (CPP); amend the Employment Equity Act to include ageism, and launch an awareness campaign to dispel the prejudice many older workers face; and limit ATM transaction fees to no more than $0.50, and ensure that all banks offer at least one low-cost credit card with an interest rate no higher than five per cent above the prime lending rate.

Moreover, the strategy proposes government work with provinces to ensure that the growing demand for doctors and nurses specializing in gerontology is met, work with the provinces and territories to develop more flexible housing options for seniors, create a seniors advocate and take a systemic approach to fighting elder abuse.

“The number of seniors in Canada is set to double by 2036,” said Johns. “We need to put plans in place now to ensure that we are ready for this dramatic increase. No one should have to grow old in poverty, insecurity and isolation.”

Qualicum Beach is the oldest community in Canada with a median age of 63.9 as of the 2011 census.

Salvation Army manager Lisa Clason and SOS executive director Renate Sutherland both said this year the number of seniors accessing their services is on the rise.

Johns speech in Ottawa also touched on economic and environmental challenges facing the riding.

“Small business is the core of our economy and the natural leader of innovation. We have opportunities to invest in innovation,” he said in the House.

“Often the wealth of our country starts in rural communities, but it leaves rural communities. We need to have shared prosperity with aboriginal people, and with all of our communities.”

Johns mentioned his great grandfather had worked at a paper mill in Ocean Falls which was then a town of 4,000 people but today its population has sunk to only 75.

“I do not want to see that happen to any more coastal communities,” Johns said.

He said climate change is already having significant impacts on Vancouver Island, and left unchecked it poses serious threats to B.C.’s environment and the economy.

Just Posted

The Arrowsmith Search and Rescue Society has outgrown its home at the Coombs-Hilliers Fire Department and will soon move to its new operations hall at the Qualicum Beach Airport. (PQB News file photo)
The Qualicum Beach Farmers Market is one of the organizations approved for a grant-in-aid by the Town of Qualicum Beach. (PQB News file photo)
COVID-19: Town of Qualicum Beach awards $80K in relief funds to community groups

Pandemic has put a financial strain on many organizations

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Whiskey Creek gas station destroyed by fire after camper van explosion

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

A 58-year-old B.C. woman says she was attacked by a deer while out walking her dog last week. (Paul Chiasson/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Deer attack in southeastern B.C. leaves woman cut, battered and bruised

Liz Royer says she was out for a run last week when the deer appeared out of a bush and charged

Most Read