Ross Mayot, CARP VP of Community Development and Susan Eng, CARP VP of Advocacy with the Sudbury CARP Chapter’s Executive.
The National office’s outreach continued in June, as Susan Eng, Ross Mayot and Ashley Menard, who recently joined Susan’s Advocacy team, travelled to Sudbury where Susan was the keynote speaker at the Sudbury Chapter AGM. A sold-out gathering at the Howard Johnson Hotel greeted us after our 4 hour drive from Toronto.
Reports by Chapter Chair, Pat Douglas and Committee Chairs on Fundraising, Programming, Membership, Community Events and Advocacy, once again this year illustrated why the Sudbury Chapter is such an influential and positive force in the community. For example, the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association gave the Chapter a community service Award for its help. Another example of community leadership was made clear in past Chair, Darwin Brunne’s Advocacy Report, which captured the Chapter’s tenacious advocacy for PET Scan technology to be available in northern Ontario. Over the past several years Darwin and the Chapter have secured the support of numerous community groups in support of the cause and have tirelessly petitioned the provincial government to fund and make the technology available. Prodded by Darwin’s complaint to the Ontario Ombudsman and resulting report, the government finally agreed to fund several PET Scans in the province, but none in Northern Ontario. However, the Chapter has no intention of giving up.
Susan Eng’s keynote address, entitled A New Strategy on Aging, picked up on Darwin’s report by reinforcing the need for effective and persistent local advocacy. “We need to keep politicians’ feet to the fire”, noting the necessity to hold politicians to their promises and encouraging words. That can be done by making sure that politicians and candidates understand the voting power of the CARP members. Requesting a show of hands as to how many in the room did not vote in the last election, not a single hand was raised. The response served to affirm the fact that our membership and the CARP demographic represent a powerful political force that can be mobilized for social change.
Whether it is about securing PET Scan technology, pension reform, health care and care giving, promoting the need for age friendly communities, or fighting ageism on issues like mandatory retirement, visible and informed grassroots pressure is key to political decision-making. Susan said it takes time to get results, but urged CARP members to make sure their local politicians knew where they stood on the issues and to hold them accountable.
Susan’s encouraging and poignant address was acknowledged with a standing ovation. But as we got back on the road for the drive to Toronto and reflected on the can-do spirit, hard work and commitment to CARP’s mission, we agreed that our volunteer Board and members in Sudbury and Chapters throughout the country are the ones most deserving of a standing ovation.
Watch for the September issue of Zoomer magazine for more pictures and stories about our meetings with Chapter over the past couple of months.