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Posted: September 1, 2021

Was Trudeau’s handout a $600 million bribe?

“Perceptions,” by Gerry Warner

Op-Ed Commentary

There’s an issue that none of the candidates are talking about in this election. Maybe it’s because they don’t see anything wrong with it even though it reflects adversely on the Trudeau government.

Free money! Or was it a bribe? You decide.

Let me quote the letter I received: “Service Canada is pleased to inform you that you will be eligible to receive a taxable $500 lump sum payment issued to all Old Age Security recipients who will have reached age 75 as of June 22.”

Talk about winning the lottery!

The only explanation in the three-paragraph letter was that the payment was a “temporary measure” until the regular Old Age Security benefit is raised 10 per cent in July 2022 as “part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to strengthening seniors’ financial security.”

Can’t you hear seniors across the country saying wasn’t that nice of Prime Minister Trudeau to give us five C-notes on the eve of an election where we can show him our gratitude too? Could these events be connected? Nah! Surely not even Justin is as brazen as that?

Or is this what he meant early in his tenure when he talked about “sunny ways?” Five hundred dollars worth of sunshine isn’t chump change when you consider Elections Canada’s latest estimate of 1.2 million seniors in Canada over the age of 75. In good old dollars and cents Trudeau’s generosity with Canadians’ money amounts to around $600 million out of taxpayers’ pockets. Can I be blamed for thinking we’re being bribed with our own money?

If you’re over 75 and do electronic banking, you may not even have noticed that cool $500 being dumped into your account by direct deposit. Maybe you should check and see. Being the 75-year-old curmudgeon that I am, I got a paper cheque in the mail because I don’t bank electronically by bits and bytes. And, as they say, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

Now I can hear some of you saying, shut up Warner and stop complaining! But I will complain and I’ll tell you why.

First there is the sheer amount of money we’re talking about here, more than half-a-billion. That amount of cash would provide a lot of affordable housing, reduce hospital waiting lists, build a lot of day cares, alleviate child poverty, repair failing infrastructure, fund cancer research, slow down climate change, or feed the homeless. The list is endless.

And when I think of this, I start to get angry.  As angry as I’m capable. You ask why. I’ll tell you. I received the letter and the cheque in mid July. When was the election called? On August 15. Can I be blamed for thinking the closeness of these dates is not coincidental? Does Trudeau believe we’re all stupid?

This election is taking place during a world-wide pandemic that’s surging in our country at this very moment. What word would you use for an election called on the heels of a $600 million handout to a segment of the Canadian electorate known to vote at a higher rate than any other group in the country?

I’m speaking rhetorically of course. I’m not talking about a real bribe that you go to jail for. But surely it was a sleazy, attempted bribe in the unsavoury world of politics where anything goes. And what is our prime minister getting away with? Calling an election while thousands of Canadians are dying with COVID-19 and the Delta variant.

Calling a snap election when according to CTV News this election is going to cost $610 million, more than any previous election in our history. What have Canadians done to deserve a nightmare like this?

And done after a tawdry attempt to bribe a certain segment of the electorate that always votes! I haven’t decided yet how I’m voting in this absurdly unneeded election. But I absolutely know who I’m not voting for. Perhaps you think the same?

I wouldn’t blame you.

– Gerry Warner is a retired journalist, who doesn’t take bribes of any description lightly.

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