McCallion commends local seniors for taking up challenges of aging population

News Jun 27, 2015 by Mike Peeling Brant News

Hurricane Hazel McCallion had high praise for the Grand River Council on Aging when she spoke at the organization's annual general meeting on Wednesday to a packed room.

"What you have here beats what any consultant can do," said the former, fifth and longest sering Mayor of Mississauga, and explained that consultants cost a lot of money that isn't always worth the investment. "It's good that it's (GRCOA) all volunteers."

McCallion, who at 94 retired from the mayor's chair last year, said that like climate change, local, provincial and federal governments should have started addressing the challenges presented by an aging population much earlier, and still lag far behind the need of Canadian seniors.

"Our infrastructure is not designed for climate change, and it's the same with seniors," she said. "We're all late getting on that boat."

McCallion later revisited that metaphor with a comparison to Noah's Ark, a story she says taught some key life lessons.

"Don't miss the boat," she said. "Just remember, it wasn't raining when Noah built the ark. That's advice for the federal government."

While governments stay behind the times readying communities for the silver tsunami developing as the baby boomers become seniors, McCallion said a fitting group has become proactive agents of change.

"In most communities, seniors have taken up that challenge," she said. "What better way to address it than by seniors."

"I hope one day Mississauga and Peel Region will adopt your model. They get reports on what the needs are of seniors, but they aren't backed up with action."

Most of the action on behalf of seniors in Brantford and Brant, McCallion said, is a attributable to the "many volunteers" who have stepped up.

McCallion said the challenge to recruiting volunteers in Mississauga and Brampton are the cultural differences of the ethnic groups who immigrate to the area in great numbers.

"Many of these people come from places where they are not asked or expected to volunteer or donate money, so we have to teach them to be volunteers," McCallion said. "And different ethnic groups like to have their own seniors groups. So our challenge is integration. We have to go ask them to get involved."

Describing herself as "a little girl from the Gaspé Coast, McCallion described her life story of growing up in Québec, attending high school in Québec City, playing professional hockey in Montreal, working for a petrochemical plant and retiring to help her husband run a printing business, all before being elected Mayor of Streetsville and then Mississauga in 1978, a role she held onto for 36 years.

McCallion said women's hockey is progressing while men's hockey is taking a hit, literally and figuratively, because of body checking, which isn't allowed in women's hockey.

"Men's hockey would come back if they followed our lead, which I talk about in my book," she said. "I sent Don Cherry a copy, but I haven't heard back from him … Concussions are a real problem for our healthcare system."

McCallion recalled a regular challenger for Mississauga's mayoral seat telling her in a public debate that she ought to see a doctor.

"I told him I stay away from doctors," she said. "The healthcare system is mismanaged and misused. And the misuse applies to us."

She picked up on the subject later after talking about the inequity of government funding burdens at different levels.

"Nothing is free in life, folks," she said. "Health care is considered free and that's why it's misused. If we charged a user fee, attendance at the emergency rooms would drop. And that's why I will continue to promote a fee system."

McCallion said more research is needed to keep seniors active and therefore, out of the hospitals.

"We're all living longer than ever, which means were more of a burden on the healthcare system," she said, noting that doing physical activity and eating well is very important. "Seniors programs should be more directed. We visit lots of places but there is not enough emphasis on exercise. Many seniors will sit on a park bench, but that is the dullest thing you can do in a park."

She said seniors should be consulted more on improving ways to keep them active in the community.

McCallion commends local seniors for taking up challenges of aging population

Former Mississauga mayor speaks at Grand River Council on Aging AGM

News Jun 27, 2015 by Mike Peeling Brant News

Hurricane Hazel McCallion had high praise for the Grand River Council on Aging when she spoke at the organization's annual general meeting on Wednesday to a packed room.

"What you have here beats what any consultant can do," said the former, fifth and longest sering Mayor of Mississauga, and explained that consultants cost a lot of money that isn't always worth the investment. "It's good that it's (GRCOA) all volunteers."

McCallion, who at 94 retired from the mayor's chair last year, said that like climate change, local, provincial and federal governments should have started addressing the challenges presented by an aging population much earlier, and still lag far behind the need of Canadian seniors.

"Our infrastructure is not designed for climate change, and it's the same with seniors," she said. "We're all late getting on that boat."

McCallion later revisited that metaphor with a comparison to Noah's Ark, a story she says taught some key life lessons.

"Don't miss the boat," she said. "Just remember, it wasn't raining when Noah built the ark. That's advice for the federal government."

While governments stay behind the times readying communities for the silver tsunami developing as the baby boomers become seniors, McCallion said a fitting group has become proactive agents of change.

"In most communities, seniors have taken up that challenge," she said. "What better way to address it than by seniors."

"I hope one day Mississauga and Peel Region will adopt your model. They get reports on what the needs are of seniors, but they aren't backed up with action."

Most of the action on behalf of seniors in Brantford and Brant, McCallion said, is a attributable to the "many volunteers" who have stepped up.

McCallion said the challenge to recruiting volunteers in Mississauga and Brampton are the cultural differences of the ethnic groups who immigrate to the area in great numbers.

"Many of these people come from places where they are not asked or expected to volunteer or donate money, so we have to teach them to be volunteers," McCallion said. "And different ethnic groups like to have their own seniors groups. So our challenge is integration. We have to go ask them to get involved."

Describing herself as "a little girl from the Gaspé Coast, McCallion described her life story of growing up in Québec, attending high school in Québec City, playing professional hockey in Montreal, working for a petrochemical plant and retiring to help her husband run a printing business, all before being elected Mayor of Streetsville and then Mississauga in 1978, a role she held onto for 36 years.

McCallion said women's hockey is progressing while men's hockey is taking a hit, literally and figuratively, because of body checking, which isn't allowed in women's hockey.

"Men's hockey would come back if they followed our lead, which I talk about in my book," she said. "I sent Don Cherry a copy, but I haven't heard back from him … Concussions are a real problem for our healthcare system."

McCallion recalled a regular challenger for Mississauga's mayoral seat telling her in a public debate that she ought to see a doctor.

"I told him I stay away from doctors," she said. "The healthcare system is mismanaged and misused. And the misuse applies to us."

She picked up on the subject later after talking about the inequity of government funding burdens at different levels.

"Nothing is free in life, folks," she said. "Health care is considered free and that's why it's misused. If we charged a user fee, attendance at the emergency rooms would drop. And that's why I will continue to promote a fee system."

McCallion said more research is needed to keep seniors active and therefore, out of the hospitals.

"We're all living longer than ever, which means were more of a burden on the healthcare system," she said, noting that doing physical activity and eating well is very important. "Seniors programs should be more directed. We visit lots of places but there is not enough emphasis on exercise. Many seniors will sit on a park bench, but that is the dullest thing you can do in a park."

She said seniors should be consulted more on improving ways to keep them active in the community.

McCallion commends local seniors for taking up challenges of aging population

Former Mississauga mayor speaks at Grand River Council on Aging AGM

News Jun 27, 2015 by Mike Peeling Brant News

Hurricane Hazel McCallion had high praise for the Grand River Council on Aging when she spoke at the organization's annual general meeting on Wednesday to a packed room.

"What you have here beats what any consultant can do," said the former, fifth and longest sering Mayor of Mississauga, and explained that consultants cost a lot of money that isn't always worth the investment. "It's good that it's (GRCOA) all volunteers."

McCallion, who at 94 retired from the mayor's chair last year, said that like climate change, local, provincial and federal governments should have started addressing the challenges presented by an aging population much earlier, and still lag far behind the need of Canadian seniors.

"Our infrastructure is not designed for climate change, and it's the same with seniors," she said. "We're all late getting on that boat."

McCallion later revisited that metaphor with a comparison to Noah's Ark, a story she says taught some key life lessons.

"Don't miss the boat," she said. "Just remember, it wasn't raining when Noah built the ark. That's advice for the federal government."

While governments stay behind the times readying communities for the silver tsunami developing as the baby boomers become seniors, McCallion said a fitting group has become proactive agents of change.

"In most communities, seniors have taken up that challenge," she said. "What better way to address it than by seniors."

"I hope one day Mississauga and Peel Region will adopt your model. They get reports on what the needs are of seniors, but they aren't backed up with action."

Most of the action on behalf of seniors in Brantford and Brant, McCallion said, is a attributable to the "many volunteers" who have stepped up.

McCallion said the challenge to recruiting volunteers in Mississauga and Brampton are the cultural differences of the ethnic groups who immigrate to the area in great numbers.

"Many of these people come from places where they are not asked or expected to volunteer or donate money, so we have to teach them to be volunteers," McCallion said. "And different ethnic groups like to have their own seniors groups. So our challenge is integration. We have to go ask them to get involved."

Describing herself as "a little girl from the Gaspé Coast, McCallion described her life story of growing up in Québec, attending high school in Québec City, playing professional hockey in Montreal, working for a petrochemical plant and retiring to help her husband run a printing business, all before being elected Mayor of Streetsville and then Mississauga in 1978, a role she held onto for 36 years.

McCallion said women's hockey is progressing while men's hockey is taking a hit, literally and figuratively, because of body checking, which isn't allowed in women's hockey.

"Men's hockey would come back if they followed our lead, which I talk about in my book," she said. "I sent Don Cherry a copy, but I haven't heard back from him … Concussions are a real problem for our healthcare system."

McCallion recalled a regular challenger for Mississauga's mayoral seat telling her in a public debate that she ought to see a doctor.

"I told him I stay away from doctors," she said. "The healthcare system is mismanaged and misused. And the misuse applies to us."

She picked up on the subject later after talking about the inequity of government funding burdens at different levels.

"Nothing is free in life, folks," she said. "Health care is considered free and that's why it's misused. If we charged a user fee, attendance at the emergency rooms would drop. And that's why I will continue to promote a fee system."

McCallion said more research is needed to keep seniors active and therefore, out of the hospitals.

"We're all living longer than ever, which means were more of a burden on the healthcare system," she said, noting that doing physical activity and eating well is very important. "Seniors programs should be more directed. We visit lots of places but there is not enough emphasis on exercise. Many seniors will sit on a park bench, but that is the dullest thing you can do in a park."

She said seniors should be consulted more on improving ways to keep them active in the community.