Contrary to allegations by letter writer Don Reitsma (The News, Feb. 3) about “attacks” on seniors, our government has recently introduced: an increase in Age Credit amount ($1,000 twice), raised the basic personal exemption and introduced pension income splitting. Together these measures resulted in a $2.3 billion tax-break for tax- paying seniors.
Furthermore, in 2011 we implemented the largest increase in the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) in Canadian history for 680,000 of our lowest income seniors.
Our New Horizons for Seniors Program has benefitted local senior’s agencies such as the Society of Organized Services (SOS), Literacy Alberni, Echo Sunshine Club, and the Arrowsmith Community Enhancement Society enhancing seniors programs across Vancouver Island including Parksville, Nanaimo and Qualicum Beach.
Your letter writer’s diatribe is not supported by the facts. His claim that I have “done nothing for Nanaimo-Alberni” overlooks $100 million of federal investment in the past several years, including $2 million celebrated at Hustwick Place senior’s facility (Parksville), $7.6 million for a new water reservoir at Nanaimo Lakes Road and $11.2 million for wastewater system upgrades in Port Alberni, in January alone.
Readers can be assured that any changes to Old Age Security (OAS) will not affect anyone currently receiving benefits, nor will they ever affect any individual now nearing retirement.
Other Canadians, who are not near retirement, will receive substantial notice of changes to Old Age Security, in order to ensure they have ample time to plan for their future.
I am pleased to address apprehensions about the future of the OAS program, and to highlight the many measures our government has undertaken to help seniors in recent years.
James Lunney, MP