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‘Too soon we get old, too late we get wise’ …(Yiddish proverb)

Kamal Khera, Minister of Seniors, said in a July 21, 2022 news release announcing a permanent, 10 per cent raise in old age pensions (OAP) for those aged over 75:

“The government of Canada is committed to supporting seniors after a lifetime of hard work. That’s why the government of Canada has taken historic measures to improve financial security for the oldest seniors.”

I am a senior, under the age of 75. And this may sound like sour grapes because I do not qualify but I believe that all seniors, 65 and up, deserve this 50-year-in-the-making baby boomer boost.

To arbitrarily divide our nation’s six million plus seniors into ‘deserving’ have and have not folks is not only divisive within that particular demographic group; but, also it appears to me to be quite discriminatory — ironically, on the basis of age.

Does Ms. Khera think that a 67-year-old who has worked all her life is less worthy than someone aged 76 who also can look back to a lifetime of working and paying taxes, or being a supportive homemaker?

But maybe to hush aging armchair critics like me, Ms. Khera adds that this new OAP increase (which takes effect this week) gives our younger seniors something to look forward to in old age, when they reach 75. That is, IF they reach 75.

She throws us under-75 seniors a proverbial bone:

“Younger seniors — and all Canadians — can enjoy greater peace of mind while planning their retirement finances, knowing they will be able to count on more support from the OAS pension in their later years.”

Wish I could chew on that bone, but my back teeth are falling out, waiting for the Feds long promised (and now finally being delivered, first for young people) dental care program.

In the meantime, younger seniors may be green with envy or even come to resent this government “gift” being bestowed upon their older, but very significant others. 

Seniors have told me they ‘hate it’ that their husbands or wives will get the OAP increase while they will not. This does not seem fair.

Sometimes the difference in their ages is only one year, like 74 and 75. For retired couples who have grown old together, or even who met later in life, this unequal treatment by the government may be an unwelcome source of financial friction between them.

If couples pool their OAP monies and share in their “wealth,” this dollar disparity might be okay. But for the independent older women that I know, those who have their own bank accounts (good grief,) that extra bit of personal money would be nice.

The OAP increase is the first one since 1973 and it benefits just over three million seniors. (The rest of us can cool our calloused heels.) It was first announced in the budget reveal in August 2021.

Since the population of oldsters – people aged 85 and over – is expected to triple over the next quarter century, this OAP boost is going to be costly for any government to maintain. Maybe it will have to come from their House coffee fund.

Many years ago, unapologetic comedian Rodney Dangerfield had, as his signature punchline: “I just don’t get no respect.”

As an English major, I always wanted to clean up his bad grammar, even though it was part of his comic routine shtick (from the Yiddish word shtik.) But Mr. Dangerfield said it best.

Respect would be a good place to start for a Liberal government that seems hell bent on dividing people with the decisions it makes.

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