John Sushelnitsky
Portage la Prairie
  • Linda Blair, Winnipeg
  • Ralph Cibula, Gladstone
  • Guy Hansen, Winnipeg
  • JoAnne Hoyak, MacGregor
  • Julian Hoyak, MacGregor

The mandate of the Political Advocacy (PA) Committee as stated in the Policy Handbook is as follows:

a) Develop and recommend actions to accomplish goals and objectives established by the Board.

b) Monitor political issues and advise the President and/or the Board on emerging issues relevant to RTAM.

c) Plan and organize political advocacy, if so directed by the Board.

The first project dealt with by the Committee was the United Nations International Day of Older Persons on October 1st in which Chapters presidents were encouraged to engage in an activity in their community that would publicize the 2017 theme:  “Stepping into the Future: Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society.” The Committee is working towards an ongoing recognition of October 1st and is encouraging local Chapters to do so also. In addition, World Teacher Day is annually recognized on October 5th as a United Nations Day Observance.

The second activity of the Committee is to organize the fourth Meet and Greet event with the Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) on April 10th, 2018. The last such meeting was in October, 2016, and was deemed to be a great success. Its purpose is to meet the politicians in an informal setting so that they are able to come in contact with senior citizens and get to know them, and vice versa. Later, when specific issues and concerns come up it is believed that communication will be more effective and actions more likely to be taken.

The Committee grappled with the issue of Electoral Reform as it emerged in the last federal election. While it may be on the back burner of the federal government at this time, it is believed that the principle of fairness is involved and needs to be addressed.

The growing disparity of income distribution was researched by members of last year’s Committee and it remains an issue of fundamental importance. The Committee will continue to explore ways and means to address a fairer model that will secure the income of senior citizens. The federal government’s current Bill C-27 bill proposing the transforming of defined benefit pensions, such as ours, into defined contribution pensions is of great concern and RTAM is tracking developments.

The Committee invites written comments and suggestions on any of these, or other topics by asking that you contact the RTAM Office.

Committee Report to the Last RTAM AGM

Report to the 2018 AGM 

Respectfully submitted by John Sushelnitsky, Chair (Portage la Prairie)

Members: Pat Bowslaugh (Brandon), Ralph Cibula (Gladstone) Guy Hansen (Winnipeg), JoAnne Hoyak (MacGregor), Julian Hoyak (MacGregor), Connie Newman (Winnipeg)

The first activity of the Political Advocacy Committee was to join in the observance of the United Nations International Day of Older Persons which recognizes October 1st as National Seniors Day. This observance was started in 1991 and was joined by Canada in 2010. The Committee reached out to its Chapters encouraging them to engage in activities which would highlight the talents and the contributions of its seniors to their communities. For example, in Portage la Prairie the mayor proclaimed the Day to be an annual event on the community calendar.

Another activity was to organize the fifth Meet and Greet event with the Members of the Manitoba Legislature. It was held April 10th in the Golden Boy room of the Legislature. This event is primarily social in nature and is intended to encourage communication and contacts between the MLAs and the RTAM Board and Committees. It has been successful in initiating better relations with the people who make laws affecting us.

The Committee has continued to study the issue of Electoral Reform as the current Prime Minister promised in the last election that there would be a new system of voting in the next election. An Article on Electoral Reform was submitted to KIT, our organization’s journal, to help begin the conversation and help members understand the adjustments such a transition would involve.

The fate of our pension was a prime concern of the Committee. That concern was raised on two fronts. At the federal level there was Bill C-27 and at the provincial level there was review of the pension schemes and the recommendations leaning towards defined contributions instead of defined benefits. The implications of such a change were discussed and our preference for defined benefits was made clear to the provincial government both in documents and in conversation with the Minister of Education and Training.


Seniors Vote, 2016, summarized

Last year, November Board meeting, John Sushelnitsky spoke to a paper from the Political Advocacy committee, RTAM, with issues, which should be discussed with the Manitoba parties before the election, before the many decisions significant to us were made.

The time was right, the spark was lit. Things started to grow.

Other organizations joined us, our Seniors Vote 2016.  Questionnaires were sent to the political parties; we requested and received responses. Releases were made, with radio, TV, and the press, letters were written, and people and politicians of Manitoba learned of us and met with us.

Our focus, our one-liner became…..”We seniors want our OWN Minister, a stand-alone Minister of Senior Issues. There are lots of us with issues, with problems. Marvin Krawec said it well…”Seniors need a hand up, not a hand out”.

And we did help to build this province.

Days after the election we re-delivered a summary of our involvement to each party, indeed a copy went to each of the newly elected PC MLA’s of Manitoba. It stressed our request, our Seniors Vote 2016 need, for our own stand-alone Minister, a Minister of Seniors Issues.

Perhaps it is too early to call this a movement, perhaps not. We currently do have over 30,000 members. We will not go away.

Below is a list of members of our coalition, as well as the pillars we emphasized in our questionnaire to the parties, the pillars to which we asked specific questions. For those wanting more detailed information please see:

Seniors Vote Engagement Questions for the April 2016


  1. Age and Opportunity: Support Services for Seniors
  2. Active Living Coalition for Older Adults in Manitoba
  3. Canadian Association of Retired Persons
  4. Manitoba Association of Senior Centres
  5. Retired Teachers Association of Manitoba
  6. Transportation Options Network for Seniors
  7. La Federation des Aines Franco-Manitobains



  1. Social Engagement/Participation
  2. Affordable Housing
  3. Retirement Income Security
  4. Health Care, Hearing, Vision, Oral Health
  5. Support for Caregivers
  6. Dementia Care
  7. Homecare
  8. Transportation
  9. Healthy Aging, Quality of Life

Guy Hansen


RTAM will monitor the progress of the Progressive Conservative Election promises through the government’s mandate.




Retirement is a time of transitions. Throughout your career you belonged to the Manitoba Teachers’ Society (MTS), but upon retirement you are no longer a member. The Retired Teachers’ Association of Manitoba (RTAM) exists to serve retired teachers. We invite you to join the growing number of RTAM members and enjoy the benefits of belonging.

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