Mar 15, 2013

By Jane Brown

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The country’s foremost advocacy for older Canadians says the upcoming federal budget must prioritize our quality of life as we age.  A statement from CARP – A New Vision of Aging – specifically calls for four improvements.  These are a universal pension plan to help Canadians save for their own retirement; income support levels that ensure no senior lives in poverty including a reversal of the Old Age Security eligibility to 65; stable funding and national standards for home care, caregiver support and end of life care;  and equitable access to affordable drugs regardless of where you live.

Susan Eng is the Vice President of Advocacy for CARP.  She says, “the federal budget tells us what kind of country we will be living in and sets the fiscal (taxing and spending) priorities that determine whether people can adequately provide for themselves, get the help they need when they are ill and generally expect to live in dignity through their retirement.  The social safety net has been fraying through neglect or deliberate government action.  The question is what’s next, in which direction are we heading?”

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced yesterday the federal budget will be delivered next Thursday.  He says we still need to be cautious as the economic recovery continues.  “The economists last week were a little more pessimistic for this year, and a little bit more for next year.  But it’s an interim concern.  It’s not a long term concern in terms of real GDP growth.  And as you know, our target is to balance the budget in 2015.”  Flaherty says he won’t raise taxes or reduce transfer payments to the provinces.

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