Government Should Recognize Seniors’ Week by Bringing Back Seniors Advocate

Government Should Recognize Seniors’ Week by Bringing Back Seniors Advocate

Today, Public Interest Alberta and Friends of Medicare are recognizing Alberta Seniors’ Week by calling on the UCP Government to bring back a Seniors’ Advocate.

“Alberta seniors deserve better than empty rhetoric from this government,” said Bradley Lafortune, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “Seniors in this province are calling for real action on health care, affordable prescriptions, and income security.”

“That’s why we are calling on this government to bring back an independent seniors advocate as a first step to supporting seniors to live in dignity,” said Chris Gallaway, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare. “Instead, this government has ignored the calls of seniors across Alberta and continued their reckless agenda of cuts and privatization.”

Friends of Medicare and Public Interest Alberta, alongside the Canadian Association of Retired Persons and Seniors United Now, have been advocating for months for an independent, legislated, and properly empowered seniors advocate. However, the UCP government has said there is no need for such an advocate.

Inflation, cost of living hikes, the de-indexing of the Alberta Seniors Benefit, and other factors have put significant pressure on Alberta seniors. Due to changes made by the UCP government, the Alberta Seniors Benefit, which supports low-income single seniors of $29,285 or less and senior couples making under $47,545, is not indexed to the cost of living. Inflation in Alberta was 6.5% for March, 2022. 

“The UCP government needs to ‘celebrate’ Alberta Seniors’ Week by taking action on the issues Alberta seniors are facing,” said Lafortune. “Right now, more and more seniors are falling deeper into poverty as a direct result of the UCP’s policies, and quite frankly it’s a slap in the face that they are putting out press releases when they should be taking real action”

“Privatization and cuts are not the answer. Alberta seniors deserve better than being treated like commodities. They deserve investment in public health care, seniors’ care, and other needed supports,” said Gallaway. “We will continue to stand with Alberta’s seniors and call for real action, not empty platitudes, so that people can live in dignity with real access to the care they need and deserve.”

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