New coalition seeks to make seniors' issues priority in Manitoba provincial election

Five seniors' organizations are banding together to bring the concerns of older adults to the centre of campaigns in the upcoming provincial election.

Retirement income security, affordable housing and health care are among the issues the group wants to raise

On Thursday, members of Seniors Vote 2016 gathered to announce the coalition and its mandate. (CBC)

Five seniors' organizations are banding together to bring the concerns of older adults to the centre of campaigns preceding Manitoba's provincial election.

Marvin Krawec, president of the Retired Teachers Association of Manitoba, said the group's mandate is to make sure the province's next government understands issues that are important to those the group represents.

"We have helped build this province and this country," he said. 

"With Seniors Vote 2016, we intend to continue that work by talking directly to both voters and politicians."

Retirement income security, affordable housing, health care, transportation, social engagement and participation and healthy aging/quality of life are the six key issues the coalition is aiming to bring forward in campaigns.

The groups involved in the effort are the Retired Teachers Association of Manitoba, Manitoba Association of Seniors Centres, Active Living Coalition for Older Adults (MB), Transportation Options Network for Seniors, and the Canadian Association for Retired Persons (CARP) – West Winnipeg.

That means collectively, Seniors Vote 2016 has a membership that exceeds 30,000 people.

A news release issued by Seniors Vote 2016 said the hashtag #seniorsvote2016 will be used to draw attention to issues by way of social media and encouraging the public to get to know the challenges seniors face in Manitoba.

"We have sent a list of questions to each of the three largest political parties," said Krawec. "We will be sharing their responses with our memberships in the days ahead and with the public to ensure we all know where the parties stand on these issues."

By the numbers

According to the news release issued by Seniors Vote 2016, there are 185,300 adults age 65 and older or about 14.5 per cent of Manitoba's population.

That information comes from the Manitoba Government website, which says there are an additional 157,000 age 55 to 64 (12.3 per cent) in the province.

Together, those groups make up more than a quarter of the population and they tend to vote in high numbers, the news release said.

According to Elections Canada, adults aged 65 to 74 are most likely to vote, with a 75 per cent turnout during the 2011 federal election.


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