April 7, 2011
Ignatieff touting promises for seniors
By Bryn Weese, Parliamentary Bureau
MONTREAL - As rogue Liberal candidates and their "utterly unacceptable" comments about First Nations people and sexual assaults capture the headlines, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff tried to change the channel to seniors Thursday morning, touting his party's promises to make life easier for aging Canadians.
The Liberal election platform, released Sunday, includes a $700-million boost to the Guaranteed Income Supplement for poor seniors and improvements to the Canada Pension Plan.
"This is a day to talk about what we owe Canadian seniors. These are our moms and dads, these are our grandmothers and granddads. We are here because of them and one of the things that Canada must stand for is caring for and giving all seniors security of income in retirement," Ignatieff said following a town hall meeting with about 30 seniors at a retirement community in the Montreal suburb of Laval.
A Liberal government would also introduce a $1-billion-a-year home care program to help families look after sick relatives in the home, including six months of compassionate care employment insurance and up to $1,350 to help defray the costs of caring for a relative at home.
"We think this is extremely important at a time of a demographic transition," Ignatieff said. "This is a moment of choice for Canadians. You can go with jets, jails and corporate tax cuts or you can stand with the Canadian family, stand with our distinguished retired citizens."
Thursday's event was held in the Bloc Quebecois-held riding of Alfred-Pellan. The Liberals lost to the Bloc in 2008 by about 5,000 votes.
On Wednesday night, Ignatieff attended a rally in another suburb of Montreal, Brossard, where the Liberals are desperate to re-elect Alexandra Mendes, who beat her Bloc Quebecois competition by a paltry 70 votes.
At the rally, Ignatieff promised the south shore crowd of about 350 a Liberal government would start work on a new Champlain Bridge -- that community's main link into the city of Montreal -- in its first mandate.
"This bridge has arrived at the end of its days, and for five years this government has done nothing but patch it up," he said. "It's time for a new bridge. It's that simple."
Of the 14 seats the Liberals won in Quebec in 2008, 13 of them were in Montreal.
Ignatieff was heading to Hamilton for a rally Thursday night, before campaigning through the Toronto area for a few days.