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Rachel Blaney, the NDP’s spokeswoman on seniors.Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

New Democrats say the federal government should give the most cash-strapped seniors a one-off emergency payment to help them pay for basics, including food and rent.

Rachel Blaney, the NDP’s spokeswoman on seniors, says during the winter some low-income seniors can’t afford their rent, and are on the streets or living in their cars.

The NDP wants a swift emergency payment to help seniors who claimed pandemic supports which led to their guaranteed income supplement payments being cut.

At a virtual news conference today, Blaney says she has been contacted by family members of pensioners – including a granddaughter – saying their relatives were considering taking their own lives.

In December, in the government’s economic and fiscal update, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland allocated $742 million for one-time payments to low-income seniors impacted by clawbacks of their GIS benefit.

But NDP MP Daniel Blaikie says the money won’t reach seniors until May.

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