POLITICAL ADVOCACY

John Sushelnitsky
Portage la Prairie
Chair
MEMBERS
  • Pat Bowslaugh, Brandon
  • Ralph Cibula, Gladstone
  • Guy Hansen, Winnipeg
  • JoAnne Hoyak, MacGregor
  • Julian Hoyak, MacGregor
  • Connie Newman, Winnipeg
 

The mandate of the Political Advocacy (PA) Committee as stated in the Policy Handbook is as follows:

a) Develop and recommend actions to accomplish goals and objectives established by the Board.

b) Monitor political issues and advise the President and/or the Board on emerging issues relevant to RTAM.

c) Plan and organize political advocacy, if so directed by the Board.

The first project dealt with by the Committee was the United Nations International Day of Older Persons on October 1st in which Chapters presidents were encouraged to engage in an activity in their community that would publicize the 2017 theme:  “Stepping into the Future: Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society.” The Committee is working towards an ongoing recognition of October 1st and is encouraging local Chapters to do so also. In addition, World Teacher Day is annually recognized on October 5th as a United Nations Day Observance.

The second activity of the Committee is to organize the fourth Meet and Greet event with the Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) on April 10th, 2018. The last such meeting was in October, 2016, and was deemed to be a great success. Its purpose is to meet the politicians in an informal setting so that they are able to come in contact with senior citizens and get to know them, and vice versa. Later, when specific issues and concerns come up it is believed that communication will be more effective and actions more likely to be taken.

The Committee grappled with the issue of Electoral Reform as it emerged in the last federal election. While it may be on the back burner of the federal government at this time, it is believed that the principle of fairness is involved and needs to be addressed.

The growing disparity of income distribution was researched by members of last year’s Committee and it remains an issue of fundamental importance. The Committee will continue to explore ways and means to address a fairer model that will secure the income of senior citizens. The federal government’s current Bill C-27 bill proposing the transforming of defined benefit pensions, such as ours, into defined contribution pensions is of great concern and RTAM is tracking developments.

The Committee invites written comments and suggestions on any of these, or other topics by asking that you contact the RTAM Office.

Activities

Seniors Vote, 2016, summarized

Last year, November Board meeting, John Sushelnitsky spoke to a paper from the Political Advocacy committee, RTAM, with issues, which should be discussed with the Manitoba parties before the election, before the many decisions significant to us were made.

The time was right, the spark was lit. Things started to grow.

Other organizations joined us, our Seniors Vote 2016.  Questionnaires were sent to the political parties; we requested and received responses. Releases were made, with radio, TV, and the press, letters were written, and people and politicians of Manitoba learned of us and met with us.

Our focus, our one-liner became…..”We seniors want our OWN Minister, a stand-alone Minister of Senior Issues. There are lots of us with issues, with problems. Marvin Krawec said it well…”Seniors need a hand up, not a hand out”.

And we did help to build this province.

Days after the election we re-delivered a summary of our involvement to each party, indeed a copy went to each of the newly elected PC MLA’s of Manitoba. It stressed our request, our Seniors Vote 2016 need, for our own stand-alone Minister, a Minister of Seniors Issues.

Perhaps it is too early to call this a movement, perhaps not. We currently do have over 30,000 members. We will not go away.

Below is a list of members of our coalition, as well as the pillars we emphasized in our questionnaire to the parties, the pillars to which we asked specific questions. For those wanting more detailed information please see:

Seniors Vote Engagement Questions for the April 2016

THE COALITION MEMBERS

  1. Age and Opportunity: Support Services for Seniors
  2. Active Living Coalition for Older Adults in Manitoba
  3. Canadian Association of Retired Persons
  4. Manitoba Association of Senior Centres
  5. Retired Teachers Association of Manitoba
  6. Transportation Options Network for Seniors
  7. La Federation des Aines Franco-Manitobains

 

THE SENIORS VOTE 2016 PILLARS

  1. Social Engagement/Participation
  2. Affordable Housing
  3. Retirement Income Security
  4. Health Care, Hearing, Vision, Oral Health
  5. Support for Caregivers
  6. Dementia Care
  7. Homecare
  8. Transportation
  9. Healthy Aging, Quality of Life

References
Guy Hansen

Announcements

RTAM will monitor the progress of the Progressive Conservative Election promises through the government’s mandate.

Meetings

TBD

WHO WE ARE

Retirement is a time of transitions. Throughout your career you belonged to the Manitoba Teachers’ Society (MTS), but upon retirement you are no longer a member. The Retired Teachers’ Association of Manitoba (RTAM) exists to serve retired teachers. We invite you to join the growing number of RTAM members and enjoy the benefits of belonging.

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