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BC Federation of Retired Union

BC FORUM News - From The Advocate, Summer, 2022



Coming together as the fight continues
for the rights of older persons

By Sam Wiese

President, BC FORUM

During our May 10 board meeting we were fortunate to have Sussanne Skidmore, secretary-treasurer of the BC Federation of Labour, conduct elections and a full contingent was elected to your BC FORUM Executive Committee. Returning are Gord Savard, now as 1st Vice President, Danny Bradford as Treasurer, and we welcome former directors Gwenne Farrell as 2nd Vice President and Marion Pollack as Secretary. In addition, I am honoured to advise I was affirmed as President.

I am so happy to start getting out and seeing people again. At the end of April, Gord Savard and I attended the first in person convention in over 3 years. What a treat! You’ll find Gord’s report and thoughts on the convention in this edition of The Advocate.

There was also another surprising “get together” over the past few months − the Supply and Confidence Agreement, which was entered into by the NDP and Liberal parties. The parties have agreed to work together on key policy areas in situations where both parties want the same “medium term outcome,” while avoiding an early election call. According to the deal, those key policy areas are climate change, health care spending, recon-ciliation with Indigenous peoples, economic growth and efforts to make life more affordable.

The first positive outcome of this agreement was seen on March 22, 2022. I cannot begin to imagine how elated Don Davies, NDP MP for Vancouver Kingsway, was when he posted on Twitter that morning. For years Davies has been a beacon of hope and a steadfast soldier in the battle for a national dental care program. Our sincerest thanks for never losing sight of the end goal, Don!

Where we haven’t seen the positive movement we had hoped for is in the needed changes to the guidelines of the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB). Over the past few years BC FORUM has joined with its affiliates in monitoring, analyzing and providing input to changes that weaken the PMPRB Guidelines. Unfortunately the influence of the big pharmaceutical industry and its allies once again forced the Liberal government to cave. Of the three major changes introduced in 2019, only one is going ahead and a forecasted 10 year savings of $8.8B has shrunk to $2.9B. While there was still optimism about national pharmacare program talks, I find it harder to believe government would look on it positively when pharmaceuticals are still costing so much.

The Spring 2022 session of the BC legislature just ended, wherein 22 pieces of legislation passed focusing on making life better throughout BC and supporting people through challenging times. Your NDP Government has carried through on many campaign platforms. Yes, there is still work to do and some upsets, such as reported in the article from the BC Health Coalition on page 14, but all in all things are pretty much on track.

Budget 2022 was introduced as part of the spring session. It was presented as a means by which a stronger BC will be built; saving parents money on day care, accelerating investments in building affordable housing, building new and expanding current hospitals, and looking at climate-change and how to better protect people and communities from climate-related disasters. These are just a few of the items that were addressed. For more information on legislation passed during the spring 2022 B.C. legislative session visit:

In our spring edition of The Advocate I noted that it was the season reminiscent of renewal. It follows then that I cite summer as a time for growth, and growth we must have. We need numbers to stand strong in our resistance against big pharmaceutical companies as they lobby government to dissuade them from the needed updates to the PMPRB Guidelines awaited since 2017. We need numbers to ensure defined benefit pension plans do not go down the unpredictable path of targeted benefit plans. We need numbers to hold our elected governments to the promises they made while campaigning − keeping long-term care wholly under the auspices of public health care and never placed in the hands of for-profit entities. We need numbers to carry on the battle for increases to Canada Pension, Old Age Security and Guar-anteed Income Support, and to ensure that government is properly protecting the contributions made into those programs. We need numbers to ensure that every level of government recognizes and endorses the United Nations Principles for Older Persons and incorporates the tenets of Independence, Participation, Care, Self-fulfillment, and Dignity into their laws, regulations, programs and day to day activities. So yes, my friends, we need your continued membership and if you would be kind enough to pass along a good word on our behalf, there is a registration form towards the back of this magazine to join BC FORUM. As always, I hope you enjoy read-ing this edition of The Advocate and that you have a safe, healthy and fun summer season.


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