Seniors' clout seen in Calgary vote

Originally published on the CBC News website on October 9th, 2010. To go to the CBC News website please click here

One Calgary mayoral candidate says seniors are politically engaged and can influence elections beyond their numbers.

Wayne Stewart, a senior himself, said a recent mayoral candidates forum is proof of the power of the senior. More than 300 people attended the event, which was sponsored by the Canadian Association of Retired Persons.

Stewart, 68, called seniors a “powerful voting voice.”

“Because they vote in higher numbers than most other age groups,” he said. “They are concerned and, you know, the interesting thing is that seniors are just as concerned about the future as any other age group.”

At a forum at the Centre Street Church on Friday, eight candidates vying to be Calgary’s next mayor answered pointed questions from seniors, with concerns ranging from fear of crime to affordable housing and affordable public transit.

Ruth Klassen sat through the two-hour-long debate to hear her concerns addressed.

“Well, I was glad to hear some of the replies in the transportation and the sidewalk issues, getting them cleared so they don’t go breaking their hips and stuff,” she said. ‘They vote, they vote’

Janet Keeping, head of the Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership, said it’s time politicians recognize the power of the concerned senior.

“They’re people with clout, they’re people — in many cases — with education and they vote, they vote, they vote.”

Stewart, who has worked in the energy industry and the non-profit sector, is one of two mayoral candidates over 65. He said he is discovering that many seniors’ issues actually affect all Calgarians.

Alberta’s municipal elections take place on Oct. 18.

© CBC News

Keywords: seniors, election