CARP gets apology from Robert Thibault for Ageist Comments

Toronto August 8, 2008: We were able to secure an apology on air from Liberal MP Robert Thibault. Please see details below.

CARP secured a full apology from Liberal MP Robert Thibault (West Nova, Nova Scotia) for his suggestion that his 60 year old opponent, former Nova Scotia Finance Minister Greg Kerr, was too old for the job.

On a radio show today, Adler Online, carried on the national Corus Radio Network, Susan Eng, Vice President, Advocacy of CARP challenged Mr. Thibault to fully apologize, refusing to accept his explanation that he only meant to disparage his opponent, not all 60 year olds.

Eventually, Mr.Thibault acknowledged that his words were in fact ageist and that he unconditionally apologized for them – without the qualifier “IF anyone was offended…”

“CARP accepts Mr. Thibault’s apology on behalf of all Canadians but especially those 60 and over since age discrimination is still very much with us. It is particularly important for political figures to lead the way to remove this kind of societal bias,” said Susan Eng, Vice President, Advocacy of CARP.

“I think he must have done the political math as well. He won by only 511 votes in the last election and he could have potentially offended 12,600 voters in his riding,” added Eng.

In 2006, there were about 72,000 eligible voters in Mr. Thibault’s West Nova riding, about 25% of whom would be over 60 years of age [=18,000 voters 60 years and over]. The voting participation rate for that age group in the 2004 election [according the Elections Canada] was approximately 70%. So potentially, 12,600 voters could be affected by his remarks.

CARP is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to advocating for a New Vision of Aging for Canadians which means social change that will bring financial security, equitable access to health care and freedom from discrimination; ensuring that the marketplace serves the needs and expectations of our generation and providing value-added benefits, products and services to members; and building a sense of community and shared values among our members in support of CARP’s mission.

For further information, please contact:
CARP Advocacy Group
CARP, A New Vision of Aging for Canada
p: 416.363.2277
[email protected]

For confirmation of the interview contents, please contact:

Peggy Chapman, Producer Adler Online 905.521.2319 [email protected]