Mr. Speaker, since being elected as member of Parliament for Windsor West in 2002, I and my office have had many people in my community looking to us for help with seniors' programs and services. It has become evident to me that we have to take action. Too many people are slipping through the cracks.
Over the past few months I have travelled across this country to meet and speak with seniors and seniors' organizations, associations and advocates and other politicians. Overwhelmingly, people have been supportive of the seniors charter of rights being introduced in the House on my behalf and that of my NDP colleagues.
I cannot think of a more important time to introduce a seniors charter in Canada. Too many seniors are getting the short end of society's stick. I have heard of seniors having to choose between food and medication, seniors who need physiotherapy for their knee problems but who cannot get it because of transportation problems, and seniors living in houses that are not secure and are poorly maintained.
Tomorrow, October 1, is the United Nations International Day of Older Persons. Every year, this day reminds us as a society to recognize the important challenges we need to face and the opportunities we need to grasp with regard to the seniors in our country.
The NDP seniors charter will reinforce government's responsibility to seniors, guiding legislation and public services. At the same time, it will make a vivid statement about the important roles that seniors play in Canadian society. It is about time.