The NDP party has announced plans to table a Seniors Charter in the fall sitting of Parliament. The bill would once again expand the sweeping socialization of our country and would take us yet another step closer to the “cradle to grave” mentality of some European countries, whereby the government takes total control over you, from the day you were born until the day you stop breathing, perhaps at the hand of your state paid doctor.

While taking care of our elderly is a noble cause, and indeed a responsibility that any great nation should have, there has to be some responsibility on our part to get ourselves through retirement. Why do we insist on placing that burden on our children and their children.

Most of us have the foresight to plan ahead. Me, I found employment in a field that offered me a comfortable retirement. That was planning. I set out with that achievement as one of my career goals. Everybody around me has choices to make too. They must realize that the choices that they make today will have repercussions, consequences, and perhaps rewards. This used to be taught at school and in the home. After that point, one’s future became one’s free choice. Start a career, start a business, find employment with a company that will provide in your later years, save like a tightwad, invest wisely, or spend the last few years of your meagre existence in poverty. The choice is non-refundable.

If I seem cold, I apologize. I guess I am a little rigid when it comes to making one’s own bed. Of course some encounter hardships, and endure tragedy, but we already have a social safety net for those who choose to avail themselves of it.

The NDP proposal has 5 main points. They are:

A) Timely access to all government programs and services.
This I would truly like to see at any age. Does this ever happen? Shouldn’t this be a goal to give to all Canadians regardless of age? I do suppose that the elderly have less time to spend waiting, but do we need a new Charter for this?

B) Opportunities for self fulfillment.
I can only imagine how much stuff this one could include. The official description of this goody reads “Lifelong development through access to affordable education and training.” I haven’t seen a lot of senior citizens trying to get into the local college, nor do I know many who are off to medical school. What does Jack Layton mean by this?

C) Secure public health care.
We of course already have public health care. Again, it sounds good, but this is duplication to something our seniors already are accomodated with. Maybe we ought to allow them to buy private health insurance so that they can have their hip replacement done while they can still walk.

D) Secure Housing.
This officially is described as “Safe, comfortable accommodation that costs less than 30 percent of income.” Wow, Jack, I would like that. In fact, by the time I retire, my local property taxes may be more than that, but your proposal probably wouldn’t factor in taxes would it? Also, I am sure that you think we should build retirement communities, so our seniors can all live in social housing. I like the idea of working when you are young, buying a house, starting a family, and retiring in your home that was paid off by you yourself. Why does the government feel the need to accomodate people as they age.

E) Income Security
“Income that is indexed and provides a high state of economic welfare.” Boy, that’s respecting our elderly. Let’s put them all on the dole.

Mr. Layton, maybe we could teach our children to work hard, to save, to be responsible, and to plan for their future. In this way, our citizens could be more productive, and would actually be contributing to this country. As well, they will not be a burden on the next generation of young Canadians. What the NDP is proposing is a Charter that would take care of all those who have screwed up their futures, whether through bad financial habits or a non-existant work ethic. It is high time we stop catering to those who choose not to take responsibility for their own long term care and well being. When their is no consequence for one’s actions, how do we teach our citizens to take care of themselves? We are robbing them of their own independence and are doing them an injustice.

I am not suggesting that we abandon our elderly who are in need. We have a slew of social programs right now, many fine charitable organizations who gladly help our seniors to stay independent, as well as generous health programs.

What we truly need right now for our elderly is freedom to buy health care now, increases in old age security that is actually more than 50 cents a year and that would keep up with inflation, and we need lower property taxes so that our seniors can actually afford to stay in the homes that they have worked their entire lives to purchase through their own hard work. I talk to many seniors who, through heavy taxation and high energy costs, cannot afford to stay in their own homes.

We do not need another charter. We do not need another bureaucracy. We do not need further government interference and taxation. What our elderly citizens need, Mr. Layton, is less government.

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