Abbotsford Today is certainly a progressive and informative leader in Journalism. Residents ought to make a visit online at regular occurrences, at least 4-5 times weekly, to get up to date information. The recent “Dear Allan” is no exception, except I am taking literary licence to borrow some of their observations, as the same may be applied to other Municipalities & Organizations, notably for our purposes, The District of Mission & (Associations) per se. Please read the full story about Abbotsford, for context & perspective but three points jump forward, in (red) below are (http://www.abbotsfordtoday.ca/dear-allan/ ):
1. Open discussion of ideas, values and priorities together with the expression of opinion is the basis for shaping effective and meaningful action
2. The phony prominence derived from elected office (Council, Chamber or Association) status neither promises omniscience nor protection from criticism from fellow citizens. The apparent fact that local (papers) will not criticize does not imply that others won’t or shouldn’t.
3. Anyone daring to contradict the power structure, has been rudely dismissed and belittled by those whom they have dared to criticize. I have witnessed in opposition to our misguided MLA & on occasion, some individual has thought to (personally attack) me, to no apparent avail. But so to, with some organizations, often the clique dominated or silo governed body seeks to continually energize itself. Often a case of “the same people, successive reappointments/re-elections, doing the same things, encountered at many similar (bodies), expecting a different outcome”. (Often) wondering at lack of progress or why Volunteers are not interested. The ever present “self-aggrandizement” heralds the lack of progress, by many incumbents always seeking some praise for themselves, exclaiming how well they have done in spite of facts, at hand. Indeed, Einstein defined (insanity) as “doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome”. The adage often espoused, “we need different people & ideas to change the direction/outcome of where we are at and how we got here – in order to progress”.
v The District of Mission have experienced a near total change of Municipal Council, last election. While some (cracks) emerged in the CRMG structure, a few salient points are worthy of note. First, the Mayor publicly claims a hero worship of the MLA and which may be perceived by some to (brand) party allegiance. On a (Municipal political note) an Abbotsford CRMG, lead by Fred Thiessen, has emerged. But (Mission) CRMG identified one means how to (overthrow) incumbents, which was an innovative departure from Municipal (politics). But the major point is “politics are a changing” and the “end of an era is at hand” with one MLA retiring but so too, maybe the Provincial Government, like The District of Mission, are finally poised “for great things”. A new MLA or MLA’S bring new life to sadly neglected Citizens lo these many years of perceived indifference, ineptness, partisan politics. Sadly, a divisive Community exists, lacking all the qualities & leadership needed to make an inclusive community, an Age-Friendly Community, an environmentally sensitive community. We may achieve the qualities and skills, described in Point 3 above, to witness Mission finally achieve standards and deserved entitlements of Citizens, as a whole, but specifically Seniors’ to gain deserved “Respect for Seniors”. To this end, readers are referred to the COSCO (Political Campaign) titled aptly “Respect for seniors’” (refer www.coscobc.ca) for details.
v The Elder Citizen Action Coalition (ECAC) provides unsolicited, frank & sometimes “in your face”, sage advice in a constructive and objective manner, facts and wisdom exuding empathy but equally public opinion about public interests being observed and met or not, with proposed solutions. The “News to You Newsletter” offers a potpourri of issues & spectrums related to politics & living in Canada, BC or a Municipality but a new feature is our focus upon “Seniors’ issues, under The Elder Citizen Action Coalition. We seek to identify the most common symptoms, traits & problems and to offer some solutions or ideas that (Politicians) or (Organizations) may try to improve circumstances. If you recognize any of the indicators we allude to, you may wish to investigate, ask questions or get more involved, before it is too late.
THE LEARNING PAGE – offers sage advice and counsel to all Humans, with some focus upon Seniors’ but seeks to explore and thus, provide you with proven successful “Management skills & techniques” to improve your productivity, informed decision making & stimulate your creativity, innovation and contribution to Society. It is “look in the mirror time”.
· This month we state, collective goals must be, “Personal responsibility and actions are required of all of us in an increasingly ‘Global Society’. How do we reach the arrogant, uneducated, indifferent or apathetic person. How do we impress upon (some) the need to be reliable, to commit to the (group effort). Sadly, sometimes the decision to move forward excluding (certain) people needs to take precedence as the whole must be greater than the substance of its individual parts/people. Unfortunately, (some) people are just lazy, uncaring, disorganized or unwilling to understand or cooperate. Remember, a team is only as strong as its weakest link.
· Some factors contributing to the dilemma of (inept) and (wrong choices) is the ever present “lack of transparency, lack of accountability, lack of objectives, goals & standards”. Similarly, the ever present “enabler, apologist and excuse maker who continues to rationalize inferior performance”, often relying upon (personality) and anecdotal impressions to combat any constructive criticism. Further, illustrates an intransigence symptomatic of a closed mind and leads to the conclusion a reasonable apprehension of bias exists.
· Possibly the single greatest demand upon VOTERS everywhere, whether to elect “Boards at Associations” or “Politicians” the more pronounced qualities desired in Candidates include their exuding “empathy”, just as being wary of persons to avoid, the “passive bystanders”, thus the qualities of sound ethics and values that set true “Leaders” apart from the pack – take the time to research Candidates carefully, set high standards and vote for people who meet needs. “We are only limited by the imagination of our Leaders”.
“DELIBERATELY STUPID AWARD” – This ‘infamous’ increasingly popular, recognized authority is awarded to the most deserving, the misguided, arrogant, self-centered & truly ignorant among us but the “deliberately stupid” category is a truly heartfelt distinction not that many, fortunately, can aspire to & attain..
v Governments & Leaders with a mind-set “to win at any cost” or business “a profits at any cost” are a throwback to the dinosaur thinking (leaders of an age gone by) but many if not most, clinging to this mantra will be cast aside, lose elections, find political party implosion and failure is on the horizon – BC Liberals, “are you listening”?
v Government or specifically Ferry Corporation raising Ferry rates is counter-productive and thus costly misstep, whereas, a major reduction in Rates, recognizing “ferries are an extension of the Transportation infrastructure, like roads & bridges”, hence, pursuing a mass marketing concept will bring greater public use, profits & dividends while endearing with the sailing public.
v Government raising Medical Services Premiums is unproductive and an assault against Public funded Medicare concepts, hence recent increases will strengthen Public resolve to (dislike) Government continued abuses upon ill and needy Citizens’. A progressive plan is needed to bring fees to zero
v Government suddenly believing ‘they are right’ a sad phenomenon that, being in a position of perceived entitlement and power, “to do what they want, presumably because they can” causes the (elected inept) to ‘become an expert on all they do’ sometimes venturing into one unsavoury crises or corrupt after another and resulting often in resigning. The lack of constructive policy, standards and leadership are catalysts to this dilemma. Some education, humility and openness will go a long way to bridging the chasm that exists and this can start by (Politicians) realizing “they are not always right”, to listen to sage advice, to take the “2nd look”, to foster open & transparent communication (not only partisan), to be responsive and reply to critics & supporters alike, by like means but do not ignore, which is at one’s peril, at best.
v Fish Farm Industry failing to commence relocation to inland containment – BOYCOTT “Fish Farm Salmon” at your local Supermarket. Check out http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/britishcolumbia/story/2012/07/19/bc-piscine-reovirus.html or http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22959429
v Government failure to prohibit “Foie Gras Factory Farming”, this vile practice is cruel & inhumane, with a major producer being self-proclaimed Worlds No. 1 producer “Rougie” distributor for Palmex Inc. Montreal, Quebec. BOYCOTT all restaurants offering FOIE GRAS.
v Retail advertising of food products, with a perceived fascination for cannibalism or violence, in that, various (foods) are depicted as alive, they speak or sing, dance and then – eaten! Conversely, the animated (human) is eaten by some large animal – is the fascination to desensitize humans or some warped sense of humour?
v Government ineffective plan to STOP BULLYING, while locally creating lots of Media hype, “pink shirt days” and the like, indeed undoubtedly many caring people involved, sadly (bullying) continues by bullies knowing until Federal Legislation, making Bullying punishable, unacceptable and unpopular, it is more noise than valued substance in more meaningful remedial manner. Seniors’ Abuse falls within the same (bullying) criteria. We have added below, an article , “Ageism & Abuse”, which unfortunately makes this Newsletter longer than desired, so we apologize for the length. Sadly, the Government appointment of a Seniors’ Advocate but failing to appoint as an (independent) Officer of the Legislature is redundant – foolhardy, at best.
v Government failure to address the Homeless situation, too many unacceptable bandage approaches and excuses, without knowing most causes in order to abate and a lack of sincerity and pro-active measures to deal effectively with the problem.
v Government failure to prohibit “Cosmetic Pesticides”, to substitute “Animal Safe Anti-Freeze” and in some case risk contaminating the aquifer
v “Political posturing and knee-jerk ideas about Fraser River dredging”, needs to be carefully and well planned to accommodate crucial Fish Habitats and in turn, meet Flood Protection prevention needs, working river benefits, sustainable environmental concerns and budget needs. It is not a (political opportunism) idea nor should late knee-jerk measures trump the more important values of Fish Habitat protections and effective sustainable plan.
v District of Mission Council failure to disband Development Corp & return $1 million to Taxpayers – View article www.abbotsfordtoday.ca “They would have preferred to keep this in-camera” describes second part of this foolhardy exercise perpetuating “secrecy” – shame!
v Fraser Health Authority decision to impose pay parking at Mission Memorial Hospital in 5 years, prompting expansion of ongoing (current) protest to eliminate pay parking at Hospitals, by adding a protest to prohibit FHA & Mission Council from proceeding with an agreement to add MMH to the list of Hospital charging (unacceptable) parking fees.
v Government plans to adopt Aggregate Pilot Project (APP) as unnecessary and unacceptable, prompting a desperately needed complete review and progressive changes to the outdated Mines Act, currently under leadership of inept Politicians and possibly misguided motives. The May election ought to include a review as part of incoming Government platform.
v Government failure to fully address needs of Social Housing completely once-and-for-all actually, instead of perpetuating “band-aid approaches”. As well, perpetuating ongoing homeless & destitute living conditions, particularly for spouses, who upon death of a spouse do not receive 100% Survivor Pension Benefits, thus, diminishing their ability to sustain their lifestyle. Housing is presumably to be 30.0% of income so Social Housing needs to realize this and reduce costs. While not a panacea, the new 300 sq. ft. self-contained suites at Abbotsford must be viewed in context and perspective, to Seniors’ needs and not belittled for meeting one need, nor compared to “living in a jail cell” which is unproductive criticism. Indeed, whether 300, 750 or over 1000 sq ft, keep in context to needs addressed, proximity to amenities and the alternative homeless.
v Government failure to adequately and fairly fund FHA, which limits ability to provide needed services; an objective review of funding formula’s is desperately needed by an independent agency to remove inequities existing.
The “Political” future is unfolding with optimistic opportunities
We need to “rebuild” the ‘Political system” and reinvigorate the Voters confidence in ‘creating and managing political change needed to restore Voter trust & confidence, including wise & thoughtful realignments of revenue streams to augment “Government coffers”, to eliminate a culture of crass, partisan evasion and lack of sincerity, some paths include.
v BC Government should increase Corporate Income Tax to 13% for 3 years, then decrease to 10% in annual 1% decreases
v BC Government should immediately decrease Small Business Taxes, as “being the engine of progress for the forseeable future” incentive will be productive.
· Next major public movement, most likely expansion of the “Silver Tsunami” (a major growing Seniors’ movement, lacking co-ordination/organization of the whole but significant organization among throngs of Seniors’ groups across North America) – The common denominator of public protests, “long-standing issues not being effectively addressed”…..currently the “yell for attention” – next COMMON GOALS/ACTION by any astute Government!
· Canada & Provinces need “Democratic Reforms”, free votes, independent Committees and more powerful ‘Back Benchers”.
· The days of prorogued Government, Omnibus Bills and Autocratic Style, with “no dissent” MUST GO; a need to shake-up things if you want to change the dominant consensus or you’re never going to get progressive & fair change”.
· Simple & fundamental change is needed, abandoning “Leader dictatorship” and “creating effective Recall”, reinstating the Constituent as the primary beneficiary.
· MISSION “ELECTION 2014” – Are Mission & Abbotsford Councils performing, who is/who is not? It is time to start planning our ‘election campaign’ to attract, if needed, a (New Mayor & Council). CRMG identified the successful process, a needed (SLATE) approach & typical campaign to achieve a renewal of Council, so let’s make more wise Candidate choices but the campaign process is before us. Seniors’ hold the balance of (votes) to elect a new Council and yes, on May 14, 2013 a “new MLA or possibly two at Mission”.
Some Important dates to remember
· Thursday April 4, 2013 meeting at Mission Community Activity Centre ALL SENIORS’ are encouraged to attend this meeting, JOIN or RENEW MSCA ($10 Annual dues – help plan activities – YOUR SENIOR VOICE, LEADERSHIP, SUPPORT & WISDOM is needed more than ever NOW!
· Wednesday April 10, 3:00pm, Seniors’ Centre Task Force, Municipal Hall (Conference Room) & each 2nd Wednesday monthly at 3:00pm until April 2013 the Task Force will meet,
· Thursday April 11, 2013, 1:30pm. Mission Seniors’ Advisory Committee, monthly meeting at Mission Seniors’ Centre (venue change) – What is MSAC doing? Is MSAC attracting “the BEST” Senior Leaders? Does MISSION need one STRONG (Umbrella) organization to (represent) Seniors’ & secure an Activity Centre? An “Age Friendly” community needs a “steering Committee” – who? Seniors’ Week June 2nd to June 8th, Come out ‘with a Senior’ & enjoy celebrations
Some Important web.sites to become aware of & informed about Seniors’ issues
· The Elder Citizen Action Coalition – www.thecouncilclaw.ca ‘click’ CONTENTS. The “cutting-edge Leadership for Seniors’ in Canada – Seniors’ unite & organize; NOW on ECAC site, 23 pictures of the impressive “New” Pitt Meadows Seniors’ Activity Centre (adjoining “The Wesbrooke Seniors’Living Community”
· District of Mission – www.mission.ca – watch Council meetings in progress LIVE VIA WEB CAST or check back anytime to view any topic or issues
· COSCO “Council of Seniors Citizens’ Organizations” www.coscobc.ca – 80 affiliated organizations; 85,000 senior members – The “Joys & Tears Conference” notes now posted
· OMBUDSPERSON – www.bcombudsperson.ca – A Roadmap To Better Seniors’ Care In B.C., A Summary of BC Ombudsperson Report – 176 detailed recommendations. Subscribe to receive email updates at http://www.ombudsman.bc.ca/subscribe Simply, “The Ministry of Health has, in many cases, failed to fulfill its leadership role for Seniors’ care in B.C.”.
We are “The Elder Citizen Action Coalition” (ECAC) – “Representing & speaking for Seniors’ who share our values”, is a heartfelt goal. It is crucial to understand, even if you do not wish to personally get involved, you need a (body) you trust, who will diligently represent your comparable views, people who will “do your homework for you” and your support to “vote for endorsed Candidates” becomes your paramount task; VOTE, as in all venues, “it is numbers that elect”. Seniors’ (you & I) have the numbers, we just need the resourcefulness to co-ordinate, to ‘make things happen’.
· The Elder Citizen Action Coalition (ECAC) is a private owned, operated, non-profit, apolitical and pro-active Seniors’ organization. On the ‘cutting edge’ of the silver tsunami with the potential to represent millions of like-minded Seniors’ who share our values, thus our sphere of influence is massive. ECAC always represent the majority of public interests & public opinion & convey “responsible communication on all matters of public interest. The rallying call, “Unity In Challenging Times” *** Passion *** Persistence *** Power *** Progress
· Demanding “Respect for Seniors’” & improved lifestyle for ALL Seniors’. We are often irreverent, occasionally may portray a “devil’s advocate” persona, seek to address controversy, be provocative and normally “not suffering fools gladly”, we simply desire to “place ideas & issues on the table, & stimulate thought & inspire principled leadership”.
· ECAC, home of the “ELDER CITIZEN ROUND TABLE”, a visionary, innovative, knowledgeable & progressive thinking discussion group selected from the most informed progressive Seniors’ leaders and invited GUESTS; we will attend some Conferences and report back to Seniors Organizations locally. Typically we select representatives to meet our need and highest standards but welcome you to consider becoming a campaigner & seniors’ champion for ECAC, letter writer to papers, social media contributor, attend protests, conferences & Council meetings, be a speaker and supporter for our many issues – forward your contact info, as well, to receive Newsletters.
· Refer www.thecouncilclaw.ca click ‘CONTENTS’ Elder Citizen Action Coalition – A “Champion of Seniors’ Causes, Needs & Issues”. Special Feature – View pictures of effective Seniors’ Activity Centre’s at Pitt Meadows, Maple-Ridge, Coquitlam & West Vancouver, marvel at what Mission can achieve with pro-active leadership. The Council Animal Advocacy (CLAW) formed (1988) rally call “Respect Animals” is now heralded again, since formation of Seniors’ Advocacy, now The Elder Citizen Action Coalition (2005), demanding “Respect Seniors’”.
Ø SENIORS’ MATTER – “It is time for all to shake hands”
….. Some retrospection will identify a road to follow …..BUT, First, (our focus) Seniors’ & a (story) that needs to be told “Ageism & Abuse”
Ø To combat ageism and resulting abuse, we all need to challenge the myths, the erroneous notions that Seniors’ lives are less valuable, don’t deserve respect or seniors’ do not feel emotional pain and the senior s’ are largely responsible for growing health care costs.
Ø Informed seniors’ can prevent negative stereotypes of aging and combat perceptions by younger generations viewing seniors’ as different. Instead we need to create positive stereotypes of aging, in that older people are wise, caring & involved.
Ø Sometimes ageism takes on a disdain and dislike, such as avoiding contact with older people, perceptions of seniors’ being weak, frail, disabled, being treated different ,often meaning (less), less valued, capable and thus “ageism” rises.
Ø Ageism often surfaces in discriminatory practices and services of all kinds, often where greater social value is given to people without impairments. Indeed, often Seniors’ are perceived “having outlived their usefulness” and lifelong contributions are overlooked.
Ø Ageism often manifests in how visible Seniors’ are in society and some seek to marginalize & make them feel unwelcome.
Ø There are wide differences among seniors’ in their chronological age and avoidance of creating impressions of being possessions, not as individuals, so it is common to see people seldom think their actions are ageist. Seniors’ may witness authorities not believing them, discounted out of hand, not considering harm as serious or unreliable memories of seniors’. Rationalizing financial abuse or that older adults have less right to their money or property than younger family members, perpetuate the negative attitude towards older people.
Ø Ageism equates to fewer public resources available for abused seniors’ than other groups.
Ø Ageism, discrimination and abuse are all inter-related within a social attitude.
Ø Ageism thrives out of ignorance, thus education and challenging someone disparaging a senior, correcting inaccuracy and to let them know comments are hurtful or offensive. As Senior advocates we must create bridges to connect the lifespans of all age groups, to create, sometimes (politically) environments that advocate greater acceptance of seniors’ in society.
Ø Sadly, many Seniors’ can be their own worst enemies, failing to get involved, demand improvements and rights, to unite in purpose and often to criticize behavior of other elderly people.
Ø The District of Mission and notably Municipal Councils, of the past, epitomize the governance and approaches that have been remiss to address Seniors’ needs, to eliminate loneliness, to create a camaraderie and instill a pride of belonging, by, in part, the simple gesture to establish a Seniors’ Activity Centre.
Ø The Elder Citizen Action Coalition (ECAC) share these observations with the Public in a hope the issue may be recognized, unacceptable behavior changed and Seniors given due respect and benefits to enhance their lives.