Liberals must support low-income seniors
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This article was published 29/10/2021 (581 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
First of all, I want to take this opportunity to thank the residents of Winnipeg Centre for allowing me to continue serving as your member of Parliament. I am inspired everyday by the pride we have for our community, and it is an honour to be your representative in Ottawa. Our team will continue to serve our riding with care, love, and solidarity while we fight for human rights for all.
Throughout the pandemic, our Winnipeg Centre office has helped individuals, community organizations, and small businesses access various federal emergency supports that have been available. While many programs have been limited and flawed, members of our community have relied on these supports over the last year and a half.
Despite the fact that we are in a fourth wave of COVID-19, the Liberal government has chosen not to extend several pandemic supports, including the Canada Recovery Benefit, which places many residents in our community at risk of becoming unhoused and food insecure.
This is unfortunate. The success of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit has demonstrated that we have the resources to lift individuals out of poverty and ensure that no one is left behind. What we need, however, is the political will to ensure this happens. This is why I introduced Motion 46, which called on the government to replace the CERB with a permanent guaranteed livable basic income.
Although Motion 46 was defeated by the Liberals and Conservatives in the last parliament, I remain steadfast in my commitment to advocate for a guaranteed basic living income. A permanent GLBI would not only contribute to the health and wellbeing of families and communities, it would also ensure seniors no longer fall through the cracks.
The health and dignity of seniors should always be at the forefront, but as we witnessed during the pandemic, the economic, social, and physical wellbeing of seniors has been critically neglected by the federal government. This includes the Liberal government’s recent decision to clawback or cut Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) payments to seniors who also collected the CERB.
Now, many seniors are having their benefits drastically reduced or completely cut off, placing them at risk of becoming unhoused and food insecure.
The objective of the CERB was not to postpone financial hardship resulting from COVID-19 until a later date. It was to provide individuals with a reprieve during what has been an incredibly difficult period for many individuals.
I plan to continue demanding this government stop this inhumane treatment of low-income seniors while also advocating for changes to our social safety net to ensure no one is left behind.
Winnipeg Centre constituency report
Leah Gazan is the NDP Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre.