By Robert Frank
Mayor Marc Demers demonstrated a genuine sense of concern for the well-being of Laval’s English-speaking residents last week, with his decision to reach out to the community’s seniors.
It’s not a new issue. The Suburban queried mayoral candidates on it during last year’s municipal election, but seniors’ needs were drowned out by genuine concerns about integrity at city hall.
We raised the issue again with the mayor’s office after he published the city’s new policy, which promised to improve Laval’s already excellent services for seniors.
As reported in this edition of the newspaper, Mayor Demers responded with openness toward accommodating English seniors’ needs.
It’s a vulnerable population.
According to Laval’s health care authority, seniors over 85 are the single-largest demographic in Laval’s English-speaking community. Yet none of the city’s wonderful social and other programs for the elderly are currently available in English.
In addition to a population that is aging much more rapidly than the rest of Laval residents, English-speaking seniors often don’t have the same family support network that Francophones have—their children having had long ago to leave Quebec to find work.
Finally, the Laval Alzheimer’s Society told The Suburban that second-language capacity is one of the first abilities that dementia sufferers lose—even if they were once fluent in French.
During the election campaign, Mayor Demers told The Suburban that he planned to respect the rights of Laval’s English-speakers.
Last week, the straight-talking mayor seized the opportunity to turn his compassion into action. Support for the English-speaking community would be a welcome gesture at any time. With partisan politics all too often clouding the province’s landscape these days, it is a bright ray of sunshine.
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