The Edmonton Branch Annual General Meeting was held on September 11, 2013 at the Royal Canadian Legion, Kingsway Branch, 14339 – 50 Street, Edmonton. Approximately 150 members attended the noon lunch with another 20 joining us for the meeting portion only at 1:00 pm.
President Brian Emdin opened the meeting with his report and distributed briefs on 2 urgent issues asking our members to take immediate action.
- Income Testing for Alberta Seniors’ Drug Plan Benefits: Currently, the Alberta Seniors Drug plan is premium free. During the last election, in writing, Premier Redford stated “income-based supports like the Alberta Seniors’ Drug Strategy are a poor repayment” to elderly Albertans who devoted their lives to building this province”. Earlier this year, it was announced that Income Testing by the Alberta Government will be reinstated January 1 2014, even though Redford promised NOT to do this. Seniors and future Alberta Seniors can overturn this plan by taking action. We recommend you contact your MLA IMMEDIATELY and inform them you and your family will not vote for a party that killed the Seniors’ Universal Drug Plan.
- National Honour Your Promise Campaign: Currently, the Federal Government is suggesting that most federal retirees should start paying double the premiums for their Public Service Health Care plan (PSHCP). Do you wonder which federal retirees wont have to pay ANY PSHCP premiums. Retired MP’s, retired Senators, retired Senior Officials and retired Seniors Officers (military and RCMP). Our position is that the current premium rate on our PSHCP is a benefit negotiated during our working careers and changing it would be breaking a promise made to every worker as part of their retirement package. The military retirees’ situation highlights a further unfairness of this impending arbitrary change by the fact that they have no union to negotiate on their behalf. Like the public service, military salaries were also reduced due to contributions to their retirement compensation packages. Pensions are based on salaries and had salary monies not been directed to the retirement benefits/entitlements, then salaries would have been much higher and so would your pensions!! You can contact your MP IMMEDIATELY and tell them to stop this or they will not have your vote in the next election. You can ask “Are they willing to be remembered as the first government in history to renege upon Canada’s pension commitment to veterans?
Guest Speaker: Our Guest Speaker was Noel Somerville, the Chair of the Seniors Task Force (STF) for Public Interest Alberta (PIA). PIA is a non-partisan organization advocating for a better Alberta for all. Mr. Somerville handed out two pamphlets titled “Redford government targets seniors” and “Position Paper on Homecare” and referred to these documents in his presentation. He reinforced the betrayal of the Redford government in eliminating the universal seniors’ drug plan and that we should all take action because this doesn’t affect only seniors but also future seniors and their families. He further described the Home Care situation for seniors as deteriorating every day and noted that the move to privatize seniors’ facilities is focused on profit instead of quality of care. PIA’s position is that the key element to quality of home care is the delivery, which should be universal to all to allow seniors to age with dignity. They believe that this is achievable if it is community-based (public funded) and a fully integrated part of the whole health care system. For more information you can contact Public Interest Alberta at www.pia.org or phone 780-420-0471.
Treasurer’s Report The 2012 audited financial statement was presented and a motion passed to accept it.
Elections Two positions were open. Ross Gillespie was re-elected as 1st Vice-President and Lillian June was re-elected as Secretary. Both votes were unanimous.
Old Business On a motion by Past President Dave Riffel, a new set of branch bylaws was adopted unanimously. Dave also reported on our resolutions sent to the 2013 National AGM in Ottawa, noting in particular that we were able to persuade the convention floor to adopt our resolution for FSNA to advocate nationally for tax deductions for Canadians who renovate their homes to accommodate a dependent person (senior, disabled, etc.), or a caregiver. This was noted on Page 3 of the National On Guard Fall 2013 edition.
Health Committee Report Initially, the improvements negotiated and agreed to by the National Joint Council (NJC) for the PSHCP were the expansion of acupuncture to include all providers (including non-physician) with an annual maximum $300 and expansion of CPAP machine coverage to include repairs, servicing, etc. with an annual maximum of $300. For more than 18 months the Treasury Board minister has not approved the new agreement and is suggesting retirees should have their premiums doubled as noted above.
Branch Website Communications Committee Chair Ross Gillespie reminded members that our branch website (www.nafredm.ca) is up and running and asked members for input to improve it. Use the Quick Contact link of the website or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Membership Retiring Membership Chair Marilyn Gushaty offered her thanks to all of the telephoners who have assisted her over the years. She was presented with a bouquet of roses and our heartfelt thanks for her service to Edmonton Branch. Dalton Philip was introduced as our new Membership Chair.
Oath of Office Past President Dave Riffel performed the swearing in of the new Board of Directors. It is noteworthy that under our new bylaws, our Annual General Meetings and elections will be held in May starting in 2014.
The meeting adjourned at 2:30pm.