This article published in MuskokaRegion.com on May 7th, 2015. Click here to read the article.
BRACEBRIDGE — Possibly one of Canada’s most influential media pioneers was in Bracebridge launching Muskoka’s CARP Chapter.
The official launch of CARP Chapter 58 ran hand in hand with Peter Jennings’ Be My Guest interview with 72-year-old Moses Znaimer, who is not only arguably Canada’s most influential media mogul, but president of CARP.
The event drew a crowd of about 250 people to the Riverside Inn in Bracebridge on April 29.
Znaimer said the organization needs an update, removing the word retired from the Canadian Association of Retired Persons.
“There’s a whole slew or words that begin with RE … relax, refresh, recharge, reinvigorating and in many ways rich,” he told Jennings.
Znaimer is the force behind Zoomer Magazine, which targets readers 45 and over, and points the finger at the media for a culture that continues to cater to a younger demographic despite the fact that ‘zoomers’ are doing the spending.
“We’d like to be talked to, we’d like to be taken seriously, we’d like to be taken into consideration when those images are created,” he said. “That’s the subtle way this alienation is played out in our society.”
This is where CARP comes in. They are a body standing for the rights of seniors, now 300,000 strong across Canada.
Linda Leibel of Bracebridge is a palliative care volunteer with Hospice Muskoka and understands the importance of having a united voice when lobbying government for issues that not only impact seniors but those in the 45-year-old range who are often dealing with parents in the later stages of life.
During her training in palliative care she realized there were a number of issues that impacts the boomer generation and children of boomers that she was not previously aware of. These issues are many and varied but include things such as health reform, transportation and pensions.
“Although I’m a boomer, I was not informed,” she said.
She began reading Zoomer Magazine cover to cover and saw the need for a local CARP chapter, calling on her friend and accountant Roger Pinney for guidance. She said they had to do a great deal of due diligence, getting all of their ducks in a row, in order to start a local chapter. One of the criteria was to determine if Muskoka had the demographic to warrant a chapter. It turned out they did. There were already about 1,100 members of CARP in the area registered with other chapters. Previous to the Muskoka launch, the two closest chapters were in Orillia and North Bay. The new chapter covers residents of Muskoka and will also represent Parry Sound district, although that area hasn’t been addressed as of yet.
“The focus for our chapter is to seek as many memberships as we can,” she said.
This increased membership will represent more lobbying power.
“At one million we will have a much louder voice,” she said.
There are also incentives with businesses by becoming CARP members and Leibel said they will be approaching local businesses such as resorts, retailers and services to become affinity partners and they will also be conducting a number of presentations to various local groups such as Probus, Rotary and church groups to increase membership. She said it is also important that those 1,100 members sign locally when it is time to renew their memberships.
“I don’t understand why nobody has pursued this because we have so many seniors (in Muskoka) and more coming all the time,” said Leibel.
And, as Znaimer pointed out, scientists predict the time will come when there will be a common lifespan of 100 to 120 years old, and 150 is not beyond reach.
As for the local chapter, they will be holding a community meeting early this summer.
For more information on the Muskoka CARP chapter, visit carp.ca/muskoka.