Our Commission’s History

July 20, 2022

Did you know: The national Senior Liberals’ Commission (SLC) was founded in 2003 and held its first Biennial General Meeting at the Liberal Party of Canada’s March 2005 Biennial Policy Convention in Ottawa.

The Right Honourable Paul Martin, then Leader of the Liberal Party, told the Senior Liberals’ Commission that, “your presence and participation in this year’s Convention will help develop a national perspective on the many concerns of interest to seniors in Canada so that our Party and Government can effectively respond to the particular needs of our country and its citizens.”

What started with 11 active Sections in 2003, has now grown to represent older Canadians in all 13 provinces and territories from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

The Commission’s declarations at its 2005 Biennial General Meeting included that: ‘an approach to government through moderation, tolerance and the rejection of extreme measures is the cornerstone of Canadian Liberalism‘ and that ‘we believe responsibility to be the prerequisite condition of freedom.

Although the wording of SLC’s vision, misson and mandate have changed throughout the years, its goals have always remained the same: “to inspire older Canadians to participate in the political affairs of Canada and to provide the Liberal Party of Canada with insight and understanding of the interests and needs of Canada’s current and future senior citizens.

Celebrating the SLC’s History

As we celebrate our history, it’s impossible to recognize our commission’s accomplishments without acknowledging Liberals who have helped get us to where we are now.

Today, we recognize Catherine Ryan, the former Alberta Section President, who has been part of the SLC at all levels over the decades. She has a continuing strong interest in Liberal Party policy and has also been involved in the Women’s Commission. In 2005, Catherine ended her inaugural report by saying, “There is much work to be done, but seniors are up to the challenge.

When I recently asked Catherine if Senior Liberals have indeed met the challenge since 2003, she said, “In many ways, seniors face more challenges now than ever before; the Senior Liberals’ Commission continues to be a strong, positive, productive voice for seniors in Canada. Keep up the good work!

Moving Forward for Seniors

Just as the SLC has been fighting to advance seniors’ priorities in the Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau and our Liberal team continue to stand up for seniors across the country. This past National Seniors Day, Justin Trudeau reaffirmed our Liberal government’s support for seniors by stating, Canada’s seniors have helped shape this country, and raised, mentored, and invested in generations of Canadians. As parents, grandparents, friends, neighbours, workers, and volunteers, they continue to contribute to our families, communities, and society in countless ways.” On behalf of the government, he thanked seniors for their contributions: “We thank them for everything they have done for us and our country, and for laying the foundations of a better future for us all.

Hilary Williamson, SLC Co-Chair(English)