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Vulnerable seniors have been abandoned by the government —NDP MPs

MPs Blaney and Blaikie ask feds to provide ‘one-time emergency payment’ to seniors
As the cost of living rises, the Liberal government continues to deny some of the country’s poorest seniors the financial help they need, NDP MPs say. image

The situation for Canadian seniors affected by the federal government’s claw-back of the Guaranteed Income Supplement is only getting worse, according to federal NDP MPs.

MPs Rachel Blaney, who is also the NDP critic for seniors, and MP Daniel Blaikie (NDP finance critic) wrote to Liberal Minister Chrystia Freeland and Kamal Khera (ministers for finance and seniors respectively) asking them to provide immediate one-time emergency payment for seniors.

“Canadian seniors shouldn’t have to die in the cold while the Liberals fix their mistakes,” said Blaikie. “After months of raising the issue, the government finally acknowledged their mistake and committed to fixing it, but the money won’t arrive for months. That will be too late for many seniors going hungry, struggling to pay for medication and experiencing homelessness.

“It’s absolutely unacceptable for the government to make them wait until May for help,” he said. “That’s why we’re asking the minister to get money out the door and into seniors’ pockets now.”

In December, Freeland announced a “top up” of $742 million that would be going to seniors affected by the claw-back, but those funds would not be available until the beginning of the federal government’s fiscal year in April.

The issue has been compounded by inflation, which was reported at a new 30-year high of 4.8 per cent by Statistics Canada this week.

“I have heard heartbreaking stories from seniors across the country. They’re living through an unprecedented global health crisis; they’re already stressed and frustrated, and then the government cut the GIS support they rely on to survive. If that wasn’t bad enough, the cost of necessities like food is getting higher and higher. Seniors need help now more than ever,” said Blaney.

“Instead of having people’s backs like Justin Trudeau said they would during the election, this government has cut their financial support and refuses to act quickly to fix it. Canadian seniors deserve much better.”

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