Statement from Irene Mathyssen on New Critic Role for Seniors

London—I am honoured to have been named the Official Opposition Critic for Seniors Issues in Canada’s 41st Parliament. I would like to thank NDP Leader Jack Layton for placing his trust in me with this important role.

It is a national disgrace that many seniors are finding that they cannot put aside enough to cover basic expenses, rising medication costs, and that too many are scrambling to find quality, affordable housing. We owe so much to the women and men who built this country and they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

In the House of Commons, I will be standing up for Canada’s seniors. I will be calling on the Conservative Government to address the financial needs of seniors; including adjusting pensions to better reflect the cost of living, ending government clawbacks of benefits, and demanding an immediate increase to the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

New Democrats are committed to increasing access to timely health services and affordable prescription medication. This country also needs viable homecare programs and enough long term care beds to be available for seniors when they need them.

Access to affordable housing, robust consumer protection and increasing Canadians’ economic security will help lift, not only seniors, but other Canadian families out of poverty.

These measures are necessary and affordable. For about $770 million, less than half the cost of last summer’s G8-G20 Summit, we can increase the GIS benefit by 15% immediately.

I look forward to serving the Canadian people and keeping the Conservative government accountable on the seniors file over the next four years.