Minister of Seniors listens to Pontiac's concerns

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Added: Wed, 11/21/2018 - 10:54pm
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Deborah Powell

SHAWVILLE &
CAMPBELL'S BAY – Filomena Tassi, the federal Minister for Seniors, visited Café 349 in Shawville during a two-stop tour of the Pontiac to listen to the concerns of the seniors, November 5. She later stopped at The Friends of St. Joseph Manor in Campbell's Bay. About 100 people attended the two meetings.
Introducing Minister Tassi, Pontiac MP Will Amos detailed actions already taken by
the Liberal government to improve conditions for seniors, such as rolling back the Guaranteed Income Supplement and Old Age Security eligibility to 65 from 67, increasing GIS payments, and investing billions of dollars in home care and the national housing strategy. He applauded the work done for seniors by volunteer organizations.
"When I was appointed, the Prime Minister said to listen to seniors, caregivers and families. So I've done a lot of listening around the country in the three months since then,” explained Tassi. “What are the priorities, what are the gaps?,” she asked before sitting down to take notes as Amos directed the question period.
Among the numerous questions and issues raised, Albert Armstrong asked for help to ensure the final stages of funding for Villa James Shaw don't drag on. Amos assured him that he will attend the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation meeting and will speak to MNA André Fortin on the subject.
In response to concerns about health service wait times, Tassi explained health is a provincial matter, but that she could pass on the comments since her work involves both inter-ministerial and intergovernmental connections.
Jérôme Sallafranque, president of the Chapeau seniors' club, said a lack of transportation options make it difficult for people to attend functions and receive medical care when sufficient notice can't be given to TransporAction. He also spoke about the challenge of communications for people who don't have computers. Tassi suggested setting up a “rides” network, indicating that financial help is available through the New Horizons for Seniors Program (up to $25,000 per project). Thorne mayor, Karen Kelly, underlined the need for more protection and education for seniors using computers, to prevent internet fraud in particular.
Winston Sunstrum, mayor of L'Isle-aux-Allumettes, pointed out that more support is needed for volunteer organizations to benefit from grant programs. “Even when grants are available, organizations don't necessarily have the expertise or staff to write up the required proposals,” he said. The issue of volunteer “fatigue” and “burn-out” was also raised during the comment period.