How the Liberals and LICO Seniors Can Help Each Other

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I’ve been a Liberal supporter for the most part, for most of my life, beginning with Lester B. Pearson and followed up with the PET years, and I will be voting Liberal again this October 2019—but not because I feel they have done anything for me.

Personally, I have received no tangible benefits or liabilities deriving from the current Liberal regime’s policies. I am over 60. I need to work. No prospective employer is going to invest in my training for fear that I may ‘break’ or that I may retire after a couple of years—at the very point the company should begin to see the rewards of their investment in my training. If it were not for my father’s support while seeking work, I would be living under a bridge right now.

Still, the Liberals, unlike the Cons, are at least talking about a national housing strategy to accommodate folks like me. They are talking about Guaranteed Annual Income programs to replace the checkerboard haphazard arrangement of non-profits, corporate beneficences, and charitable organizations which many Canadians, if they were not lucky enough to have a father like mine, currently rely on to get by. They are talking about National Pharmacare.

The Canada Child Care Benefit is putting money directly into the pockets of young Canadian families. The Carbon Tax credit will put more money into the pockets of regular Canadians. The Liberals seem to recognize, despite the notion’s unpopularity, that taxation is the only way to redistribute and regulate the flow of currency throughout Canadian society; and that currency is the lifeblood of society. The more freely money flows throughout society, to and from society’s members, without demographically localized scarcity or excess, the healthier the society. The more cohesive and productive is society; and the less we are beset with social anathemas.

Despite all of the good they are doing, and notwithstanding the fact that they have my vote, they might not be accorded the chance to continue healing this wonderful great nation of ours, partly the result of a lack of support for the demographic I am a part of. Young folks, on the other hand, appear to be buying into the Liberal vision, I suppose because despite the pressure on kids these days, they have not lost the utopic vision of the world they were born with and experience as a child. Anyone who is living at or below the Low Income Cut Off (LICO) should also be voting Liberal. The Indigenous should be voting Liberal because the Liberals are the only ones with a sense of how their cultural heritage and indomitable spirit is integral to Canada’s healing and prosperity over the long term. All good so far.

What isn’t so good is the SNC-Lavalin business. The entire business has a smell to it. The two protagonists are poor little beleaguered Jody Wilson-Raybould, the hapless Minister of Justice and Auditor General who was ‘inappropriately pressured,’ and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whom we are informed did the pressuring. On the one hand you have someone who has studied and practices law, and could use their knowledge of the law to their advantage; on the other hand, you have a well-meaning Prime Minister who was a school teacher before he got into politics and who would be relying on his Minister of Justice to keep him informed about the rules of the game, in order to avoid having government policy initiatives trip over ignorance of the law’s nuances.

Instead, we have a Minister of Justice going to the newspapers and complaining that she was unduly pressured by the Prime Minister and his staff to offer SNC-Lavalin a deferred prosecution agreement—this so that the company could not be barred from tendering for Canadian government contracts for ten years, thereby saving a significant number of Canadian jobs; primarily in Quebec. The opposition picked up on this right away (if not before), and are playing up the notion that Justin Trudeau is nothing more than ‘raging bullshit.’ The Cons, god bless them, are as witty as the Sun when it comes to funny one-liners. The trouble is, you can run a newspaper on headlines, but a national society requires much more than that.

JWR and the PM apparently met only once with respect to SNC-Lavalin. This was when the alleged ‘undue pressure,’ occurred, in violation of the Conflict of Interest regulation. I cannot know what was said, but I can reliably infer what was not said: ‘Mr. Prime Minister, based on my knowledge of the law, you cannot be asking me to do this.’ I wonder what would have happened if she had? It would have been, after all, what one would expect the Prime Minister’s minister of Justice to tell her boss, in order to keep the boss out of hot water, political and judicial? She was proceeding from a position of knowledge; the Prime Minister was equipped only with a sense of responsibility. ‘Nothing but an open face,’[i] as it were. I cannot say with certainty, but it does appear it was Jody Wilson-Raybould who acted ‘inappropriately,’ by not employing due diligence in advising her boss on the basis of her knowledge.

Instead, it appears she used it to try to hang him with.

She acted above and beyond her calling: as Justice Minister, she acted as judge and jury over the Prime Minister, and then she went to the Globe and Mail in order to enforce her verdict.

There is much more to the story than we know at present. In the next year we will know a whole lot more. In the meantime, JWR’s story launched the Cons into a 3 to 5 percentage point lead in the polls in the Spring.

Since then, the Liberals have closed the gap and are in a statistical tie with the Cons. With a few more tweaks, they might even earn the majority mandate they deserve and most Canadians need.

Going into the election period, the parties all begin to focus on voter demographics where their support is ‘soft,’ and where they can pick up votes with targeted announcements. The demographic that concerns me at this stage of my life, is that of retirees living at or below the LICO. I have seen old ladies pushing around their belongings along Lawrence Avenue East and in the downtown core. I do not want to be doing that in my old age. That should not even be the stuff of fiction, but it is a reality here in Canada. There should not be one of them voting against the Liberals, because now that they are back, they are going to fix that, given enough time.

With 24 percent male and 28 percent female Canadian seniors living below the LICO, every party should be focused on providing assistance to them and would do better at the polls to boot. I will end this article with a policy suggestion which would benefit the senior sub-LICO demographic—earning favour in their eyes for the party that offers it:

All seniors require dignity in shelter, healthcare, and community, just like everyone else. Being seniors, the community aspect is problematic at times. For these folks, a dog can be of inestimable benefit. To that end, make veterinary services free for one dog per qualifying senior.

Loneliness is a major challenge for all seniors. It leads to depression. Depression leads to inactivity. Inactivity leads to hospital visits and subsequent homecare costs. A cute little dog goes such a long way toward keeping spirits up. When you are old, and all of what you love is gone already, a puppy can fill a major vacuum and give you the reason you need to get out of bed in the morning and continue to contribute in your way to the future of your nation. Veterinarians can chip in by volunteering to bill the government at a reduced rate for services rendered to seniors who would qualify under the LICO program.

 

[i] A quote from Led Zeppelin’s immortal song, ‘Kashmir.’