Seniors’ Round Table well attended

Member of Parliament, Jean Crowder, was joined by many local seniors and residents

Member of Parliament, Jean Crowder, was joined by many local seniors and residents in her roundtable discussion of seniors’ issues, on Feb. 11 at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena.

Recently, the Prime Minister made an announcement to the World Economic Forum that Old Age Security needed to change, but did not indicate what changes specifically would be made.  Inevitably, this has raised concerns amongst citizens, young and old, throughout Canada.

Crowder will be hosting a series of roundtables throughout February and March to hear from citizens on the issues and priorities they feel are the most important to aid in preparing Canada for the foreseen increase in senior population.

Main issues and concerns ranged from private and public housing, transportation, changes in local industry, business accessibility for seniors or disabled persons, cost of living, and after care for seniors when being released from hospitals.

Long term, subsidized, income-affordable, care facilities are needed in Lake Cowichan. Currently, residents must leave the community to find care facilities elsewhere. Not only is this hard on the individual that must go to Duncan to obtain the care needed, but it is also incredibly hard on their loved ones to find the transportation to get there to see them.

“The opportunity for significant others to visit loved ones in a care place in Duncan is small,” says Councillor Tim McGonigle.

Concern regarding after care of senior patients when released from the hospital was also brought forward.  How are people being released to their homes? Is there proper care for them once they get there?  There is even apprehension about the care being offered in the facilities that already exist.  Mayor, Ross Forrest notes, “Not only do we need more facilities, we need the Government to change what those restrictions are in regards to facilities.”

Vancouver Island Health Authority’s business conduct was unanimously ostracised during the roundtable meeting.

“We were terrorized and given false information by VIHA,” says resident, Don Gordon.  “We knew the population was getting older,” he adds “VIHA and the Government should have seen it coming too.  It’s an attempt to put a band aid on a pretty serious wound.”

The consensus among residents seemed to be that VIHA’s conduct has been threatening and unethical. VIHA and the government are who we rely on for our health needs to be met and the mutual feeling seems to be that they are effectively wasting our money and not doing anything to remedy the issues that seniors are facing in regards to health care.

The cost today for a private facility is out of reach for most people. “It’s really clear that we have to stop privatizing,” says Area F Director, Ian Morrison.  “We need our public dollars to be administered by people that are skilled at their craft,” he adds.

For many seniors, the average income they receive provides for no more than the bare necessities.  “The cost of living is higher and higher,” says senior Symon Whalvin, “We just cannot cope with it.”

A comparison was made by Crowder that it is all about prioritizing, “It’s like our households. We have to prioritize our money.”  While many agree that our money needs to be prioritized better by the government, they disagree that they treat it the same as we do in our households. There simply needs to be more accountability for where our money is going.

Today, there are less people with jobs.  The industrial restructuring that has taken place just here in our area has been devastating to this community.  With all of our natural resources being exported, the result has been closure of mills and loss of jobs. Perhaps there are some new jobs being presented, but they are jobs that offer a much lower pay scale than the jobs that were available when the resource jobs were kept local.

Instead of $20 an hour jobs, there are only $10 an hour jobs available. There are a lot of young people in Canada that would like to go back to school, but cannot afford to take on the debt.

“We have money for training, but is it doing the job we need it to do?” says Crowder.  In some ways, yes, it is.  There are many programs for young people in school to start training for trades as early as in Grade 10. However, this doesn’t help the people that, because of their age now, cannot be trained for new skills.

Residents would also like to know if there is anything the government can do to make business more accessible.  Automatic doors and ramps are luxuries that cannot be afforded by most local business owners. It is the un-accessibility to these businesses that makes it more difficult for local residents to get out and do their shopping in town. Crowder thinks this may be something worth proposing. “Things happen because local community members get involved.” says Crowder.

When asked what the NDP’s policy on all of these issues is, Crowder responded, “This is part of the process of us developing our policy. I am not going to tell you I have an answer, because I don’t,” she continues “We can get stuck in the problems, but I think the seniors are the ones that can attack this.”

Once all round table discussions have been held and information compiled, Jean Crowder’s office will be sending out an overview to communities nationwide.

If you have any further questions or would like to know where additional seniors’ forums are being held, you can contact Jean Crowder at 1-866-609-9998 or on her website at

Crowder’s intentions for the round table was to hear from community members on the issues being felt by seniors now and the priority in which these issues should fall.  That, she did.  Now it is just a matter of relaying that information back to the federal government to hopefully come up with some real solutions.


Just Posted

Robert's column
Robert Barron column: Skyrocketing house prices a tragedy

North Cowichan councillor Rosalie Sawrie brought an interesting perspective to a discussion… Continue reading

Soaker hoses laid down over corn seedlings, soon to be covered with mulch, will see to the watering needs of the bed through any summer drought. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Investing in soaker hoses is money well-spent

No-till gardening has a distinct advantage during drought

Karl McPherson, left, and Mary Morrice are the new head coach and general manager, respectively, at the Duncan Dynamics Gymnastics Club. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Manager charts a new course for Duncan Dynamics

More recreational programs to join competitive teams

Cute but fierce! Timber moonlights as an attack kitty. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Sarah Simpson Column: Beware of Mr. Bite, the midnight attacker

Last week, in the middle of the night, I was awoken by… Continue reading

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read