Which party will win the Zoomer vote?
Toronto, ON, September 17, 2008 At a press conference held at CARP National Headquarters today, Susan Eng, CARP VP Advocacy announced the organizations top 5 election priorities. Under the leadership of Executive Director Moses Znaimer , CARP is Canada s largest and most powerful organization representing the needs and concerns of the countrys Zoomers (Boomers With Zip!), the 14.5 million Canadians 45plus.
Zoomers control the ballot box. In the 2004 election, Zoomers cast approximately 8.9 million votes. All other age groups combined cast approximately 5.3 million votes. So Zoomers represented OVER 62% of all votes cast.
Yet when CARP analysed the websites of the Conservatives, Liberals, NDP, and Green Party, it found no references to Baby Boomers except in the context of retirement. References to Seniors spoke only to poverty, vulnerability, decline and helplessness. Yes, these issues are critical, but they are not the only outcomes of aging. The picture painted by the parties is paternalistic, condescending, and vastly incomplete.
If Canada s political parties want to win the election, Eng advocated they address the following Zoomer priorities:
PRIORITY #1 HEALTH CARE
Deal with it! said Eng, Move on the Accord on Health Care Renewal by demanding wait-time guarantees from the provinces in exchange for federal health dollars, setting national standards and introducing a national pharmacare program.
PRIORITY #2 AGING AT HOME
Recognize it! said Eng, The formal health care system needs to facilitate the role of the five million Canadians who care for loved-ones at home. They need financial support through a refundable tax credit or allowance, better Employment Insurance coverage and improved pension plan provisions.
PRIORITY #3 MANDATORY RETIREMENT
Eliminate it! said Eng, In uncertain times, Canada needs the skills and experience of every worker who can contribute to our social and economic well-being. Frankly, telling someone that they must stop working at age 65 is the definition of age discrimination.
PRIORITY #4 RETIREMENT SECURITY
Plan for it! said Eng, Canadians do not want to outlive their money. Introduce a universal supplementary pension plan for the almost one in three Canadians who have no retirement savings or access to private pensions, and increase the annual adjustments to OAS, CPP, and GIS for fixed and low income Canadians.
PRIORITY #5 ZOOMER EMPLOYMENT POLICIES
Act on it! said Eng, Older workers have much to offer in the work force. Implement the recommendations of the December, 2007 Expert Panel on Older Workers, which called for a comprehensive strategy that included training, anti-ageism in the workplace and phased retirement.
Leanne Wright , VP Communications
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