John Sushelnitsky
Portage la Prairie
  • Linda Blair (Winnipeg)
  • Ralph Cibula (Gladstone)
  • Guy Hansen (Winnipeg)
  • JoAnne Hoyak (MacGregor)
  • Julian Hoyak (MacGregor)
  • Ken Malcolm (Dauphin)

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 2019 AGM 

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

Members: Linda Blair (Winnipeg), Ralph Cibula (Gladstone), Guy Hansen (Winnipeg), JoAnne Hoyak (MacGregor), Julian Hoyak (MacGregor)

In the spring of 2018, the Political Advocacy (PA) Committee took the lead in organizing a very successful Meet and Greet with Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA). It was later decided that the next such event would be in 2020, the year of the scheduled provincial election.

On October 1st, the PA Committee promoted the United Nations’ Day of the Older Persons by encouraging Chapters to organize a local event emphasizing the contributions of seniors to their communities.

Updates were brought to the Board on the progress of selecting a candidate for the RTAM Indigenous Bursary. The selection was made by the University College of the North, centred in The Pas.

Prior to the last federal election, candidate Justin Trudeau said that this would be the last “first by the post” and that a form of proportional representation (PR) would be used in the future. However, Prime Minister Trudeau had second thoughts. Nevertheless, the PA Committee closely followed the PR referendum held in British Columbia and reported the results to the Board.

The disparity of economic wealth that occurs in Canada and the rest of the world was studied and submitted to RTAM readership in KIT by Julian Hoyak. The second disparity based on gender income and promotion opportunities continues to be a serious issue.

The topic of “ageism” was also examined in a detailed report by Linda Blair. RTAM’s connection to the Manitoba Seniors’ Coalition is a fundamental building block in our outreach to the wider Manitoba community.

The Board assigned two issues to the Committee which will be ongoing into the next term. Firstly, the Committee was to establish what might be the ramifications of the amalgamation of school divisions, and secondly, the committee is to track the progress of The Manitoba Commission on Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education K-12, due to report in February 2020.

The topic of the Education Review was discussed with the Minister of Education and Training at a meeting of RTAM representatives in February. The Honourable Kelvin Goertzen made it clear that the review would welcome submissions from RTAM as an organization and from retired teachers individually. He also said that defined benefit pension plans, teachers’ salaries and the raising of finances were not in the parameters of the review.



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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