Thank you, and good morning.
My name is Ron Watt. As you may have guessed, I'm a senior and I worked for the Canadian public service for 35 years. When I retired, I joined an organization that is now known as the National Association of Federal Retirees. I joined here in Windsor, am a proud member, and I continue to serve as the past president of that organization. We have about 850 members locally, and nationally we have about 180,000. That includes 60,000 ex-military personnel.
Today we have three points that we would like to leave you with for your consideration in the 2018 budget: one, secure retirements; two, strong health care; and three, a national seniors strategy. We feel these are the best ways to help seniors and their families.
On retirement security, I urge the government to scrap Bill C-27. This bill would introduce a new type of pension plan and target benefit pensions, while taking away retirement security and killing off a good defined benefit plan that people have worked for and that bring benefits back to their communities and their families.
For budget 2018, I believe the federal government should lead a national seniors strategy that builds on the home care and seniors housing investments that have been made so far. The strategy needs to include a national palliative and end-of-life care strategy and better pharmacare for seniors, and it must continue to tackle infrastructure investments with age-friendly communities and universal design standards in mind. To ensure residential needs are met, the government should appoint a minister responsible for seniors. This would allow public policy to be heard that impacts our age group.
In summary, these actions would lead to better productivity and a stronger economy, not just for seniors but for their families and Canadian communities.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to appear. Good luck with your ongoing work.