July 13, 2019. The petition that has been in circulation for the past three months was presented in the PEI Legislature by Leader of the Official Opposition, and Green Party Leader, Peter Bevan-Baker, on Tuesday, July 9, 2019. The petition requests the following: Supplement the cost of hearing aids for seniors by extending the AccessAbility Supports Program to include all adults, not just those up to age 65, or devise a similar program.
Annie Lee MacDonald and I delivered the petition sheets, plus letters of support that we had received, to Peter Bevan-Baker, and learned a bit about the process. We were told that although the petition would be recorded in the legislature’s official record, there would not be any discussion about it on the day it was presented. If we want to have the policy changed, it is up to us and the public to show continued support for this initiative and to keep the issue fresh in the media.
Just before the petition was presented a few late sheets were returned, bringing our final total to 2014, or 80.56% of our original goal. Our thanks as well to the Long River Women’s Institute for their support.
Alma Nunn sent a message of thanks to Peter Bevan-Baker: “Thank you for supporting our petition for change in the PEI seniors’ hearing aid subsidies. It is most appreciated by all members who worked so diligently to prepare it and everyone who signed it.”
On the day of the presentation, Annie Lee MacDonald and Bob Furlotte attended the session. Unfortunately, cameras were not allowed in the session, but Annie Lee noted that “Peter presented each binder separately to the clerk and did what he was allowed to do. It is hard to get a reading because no one comments. The minister assured him he will be taking a serious look at it. Politicians were very friendly, shaking hands as we were lined up in the corridor waiting for the politicians to parade in.” Annie Lee was subsequently interviewed by CBC. (See https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-seniors-hearing-aid-assistance-1.5206463) She handed out the press release we had prepared. (See Hear PEI re petition being presented in legislature)
After the CBC article was published, a comment was made by Judith Bayliss, who has given permission for us to include it here. Thank you Judith.
So, the next steps over the summer are up to us and to YOU, if we want to effect a change in policy. What can you do? Write a letter to the editor of the newspaper. Send a copy of your letter to your MLA and consider sending a copy to the Minister of Health. Please also send a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org. While the legislature is not in session over the summer, the work of government continues and your advocacy support is needed.
Our education and outreach activities provide not only awareness, but also tips and techniques to help Islanders thrive while living with hearing loss. Donations gratefully accepted at: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708 And please remember, 100% of your donation stays on the island for island-related activities.
Please share your ideas and stories by commenting on this blog, or by sending an email to email@example.com. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @HearPEI.
© Daria Valkenburg