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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

December 13, 2016

 

For Immediate Release

 

Liberals’ Seniors' Advocate “Window Dressing”, Without Powers of the Child and Youth Advocate

 

Tracey Perry, Seniors Critic for the Official Opposition, said, “The Ball Liberals’ new Seniors’ Advocate will not have the investigative powers of the Child and Youth Advocate, and without those powers, people are concerned the new office is little more than window-dressing.”

 

“We support the concept of a Seniors’ Advocate, but one that has the mandate and power to investigate. The legislation outlines that the Advocate is to review ‘systemic’ issues and as a result does not have the mandate, power or authority to advocate for individual seniors who are troubled by the services or lack of services being received from a government agency, department, program or service provider,” said Perry.

 

“It was clearly stated during debate in the House of Assembly on Tuesday that ‘the concept of investigation is outside the purview of the Bill’. In other words, when a complaint is brought before the Seniors’ Advocate, the Seniors’ Advocate will not have the power to investigate it. The Advocate will have no option but to turn the matter over to the Citizens’ Representative. The Advocate will have no power to get to the bottom of concerns that seniors bring forward and bring about important change,” she said.

 

“The PC Opposition suggested specific ways to improve the legislation (Bill 64) by giving the Seniors’ Advocate the same investigative powers that the Child and Youth Advocate has under the law. Without these powers, the new advocate will be powerless,” said Perry.

 

Perry pointed out that “the former administration created a department to handle seniors’ affairs. The Liberals eliminated the seniors’ department, rolling it into the department handling children’s interests, diluting the roles of both. And now they are denying the Seniors’ Advocate investigative powers. The Liberals have not strengthened the protections of seniors, but eroded them. Seniors have suffered one setback after another under the Ball Liberals, and this is another.”

 

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Media Contact: Heather MacLean, Director of Communications, Office of the Official Opposition

 

(709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca

 

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