Sudbury Chapter: Seniors Vote event draws handful of attendees

Click here to read ‘ Seniors Vote event draws handful of attendees‘ by Jonathan Migneault – Sudbury Northern Life, October 2, 2015

NDP candidates Paul Loewenberg and Claude Gravelle spoke at event

While organizers expected at least 100 attendees, fewer than 10 people showed up at an event Thursday to encourage seniors to get out and vote.

NDP candidates Paul Loewenberg and Claude Gravelle addressed the small group at the Seniors Vote event, organized by the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees.

The Sudbury event was part of a larger campaign across Canada, that was spearheaded by the National Pensioners Federation, the Congress of Union Retirees in Canada and the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP).

Around 50 organizations representing the interests of seniors and retirees across Canada also helped plan various events coast to coast.

Herb John, president of the National Pensioners Federation, said the events were not intended to be partisan affairs, but added local organizations were free to make their events reflective of their communities.

“Each community has different issues on a local level,” he said.

The main Seniors Vote event in Ottawa featured six speakers who spoke about the issues of health care, affordable housing, old age security and income inequality. But none were politicians, said John.

Before the Sudbury event started Green Party candidates David Robinson and Stuart McCall stood outside the United Steelworkers Hall to speak with attendees and hand them brochures from the party.

“It happens that the NDP policy is pretty similar to ours, but it’s just weaker, less detailed and isn’t as good on climate,” Robinson said. “So it’s not as though we’re enemies.”

Sudbury Communist Party candidate Elizabeth Rowley also stood outside the Steelworkers Hall to hand out her party’s materials to passers-by.

“I think it would be much better for seniors who are coming here to hear from more than only the NDP,” Rowley said. “Our view, generally, is that people have a right to hear from all of the candidates.”

Event organizer Julien Dionne said he is an NDP supporter, but added people of all political stripes were welcome to the event.

While Dionne had initially told he had contacted other candidates and politicians to speak at the event, it turned out those were NDP MPP Gilles Bisson, and Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing NDP candidate Carol Hughes.