Happy May 1!
I am writing you all to to ask if you would be willing to participate in an initial discussion about the possibility of forming a new one member one vote organization for seniors in Canada.
When I was working at the NDP as Director of Parliamentary Affairs. I had to work on a response to the cuts to OAS eligibility While there were many excellent seniors’ organizations particularly of union pensioners and there is one national federation organization, National Pensioners and Senior Citizens Federation. made up essentially of federated organizations, there is no organization, like for example AARP in the USA which has 40 million members. CARP in Canada has 400,000 members but unknown to many is a business owned by Moses Znaimer.
I think there is an opening now for the possibility of creating a large mass membership organization (for over 50s) which could reach 3-4 million members. Such an organization would be primarily an advocacy organization to defend and expand seniors rights around pensions and incomes, health care housing, labour rights etc. Women would play a crucial role in such an organization given the demographics and the discrimination in income and other measures which increases at the seniors’ level. Too many seniors are still living below or just around the poverty line.
The strategy of the right both in Canada and the USA is now to target seniors rights as a scapegoat for reducing government spending at all levels. OAS cuts are now in place here and next healthcare is being targeted at the federal level.
Such an organization, would it to be formed, could perhaps function using the Mountain Equipment Co-op model of a cheap $5 membership (it has 3.5 million members) and could give automatic membership to those in other recognised organizations. If we are to move in this directions the demographics are right to do so now as seniors will be an increasing percentage of the population over the next decades from 13% in 2007 to 27% by 2056.
Anyway these are just some of my thoughts, you may have many other ideas on this issue. That is why I have secured Under One Roof, 251 Bank Street (at Cooper), 2nd floor for Wednesday, May 15 at 7 PM to hold an initial discussion on this issue and see where we should go from here. Is this an idea worth pursuing?
Thanks to Mike McBane for securing the space!
Hope to see you then and please feel free to circulate this to others or please suggest to me others to invite. This is the first mailing list and I will be sending out another email tomorrow. And please RSVP by email to me.
Hope to see you in two weeks.