Statement made on 02 December 2010 by Senator Terry Mercer
Hon. Terry M. Mercer:
Honourable senators, I have a supplementary question to the minister. As the leader mentioned, she was the minister responsible for seniors for some time; indeed, for part of the period covered in this report referred to by my colleagues Senator Callbeck and Senator Eggleton. She talked about making compassionate care benefits more available.
Should the nearly 25 per cent increase in the number of seniors below the poverty level not sound an alarm somewhere, a call to action by this government to respond, and respond quickly? It is not very often that we get a report that is so dramatic, especially when, over the years, as Senator Eggleton so ably pointed out, we have had a steady decline in the numbers. This reversal is a little startling. Senator Eggleton referred to the report of the Special Senate Committee on Aging. There are a number of references in that report to the people caught in the sandwich situation, the volunteers out there assisting seniors and the seniors themselves out there volunteering. This issue needs to be moved quickly up the priority scale of this government.
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