Canada’s poor seniors targeted by Tory OAP cutbacks, CARP says

Seniors' advocacy group CARP vice-president Susan Eng (left) with president and MuchMusic founder Moses Znaimer (fourth from left). Photo: CARP website.

Canada's advocacy group for seniors is crying foul after another Conservative government announcement on old age pensions yesterday revealed... nothing new at all.
 
During a highly anticipated pensions speech yesterday, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley added her weight to an increasingly cloudy debate on changes to Canada's Old Age Security (OAS) system, the latest since Prime Minister Stephen Harper boasted of coming reforms to stave off costs in Davos, Switzerland several weeks ago.

 
“They are manufacturing a crisis,” said Susan Eng, advocacy vice president of CARP: A New Vision of Aging, in an extensive interview with the Vancouver Observer. “I am disappointed they would treat an important issue like this.
 
“There's absolutely no need for them to do it this way... reciting the same basic talking points which have not been accepted by people. Because the government has not given any real details, everybody is guessing. Our members and others like them are fearing the worst.”
 
CARP (formerly the Canadian Association of Retired Persons) has launched a “Hands Off OAS” campaign, and said that cuts to pensions – speculated to include extending the retirement age from 65 to 67 – will hurt the poorest Canadians, many of whom are seniors. According to CARP, 250,000 seniors fall into the low-income rate.
 
The latest salvo in the pensions controversy came after Finley defended her government's as-yet undefined pension reform – namely, a coming wave of retiring Baby Boomers, demographic shifts, and escalating costs to the system – at a major speech Tuesday before the Canadian Club in Toronto.

Seniors outraged over erosion of safety net 
Implicitly addressing critics like CARP and the New Democratic Party (NDP), Finley insisted that pension reform “is not a crisis we invented” – but the bulk of her speech seemed aimed at younger Canadians, not current retirees who the government said will be unaffected.

The government has asserted that OAS costs will skyrocket from today's $36 billion to $108 billion by 2030. 

More in News

Peter Van Loan, Christopher Alexander

Media "impolite" to ask questions about secretive Iraq meeting, Minister says

Despite a tearful apology from MP Paul Calandra for dodging questions about Canada's role in Iraq, with ministers dismissing questions at every turn.
SIRC member Yves Fortier

Spy watchdog owns TransCanada shares while investigating complaints of CSIS spying on activists

Documents reveal that Security Intelligence Review Committee member Yves Fortier is a shareholder in TransCanada Corporation – the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline.  Fortier is one of...
'Seacycles': Kathleen Corey & Brian Gould

Seacycles: Aerial video of Vancouver bike lanes

Filmmakers Kathleen Corey and Brian Gould showcase Vancouver's new mega-bike lane.

Comments

CARP

This is an interesting group..who are they? They run expensive late night TV shows to attract new members...but I get the feeling they are really representing a professional level of retired (union)? folks, not in other words your average guy..as they claim.

another solution- outside the box and longterm thinking

I have to admit that the situation looks bleak if seniors continue to be a huge proportion of the population with fewer earners to help fund their pensions.  But instead of reducing output, let's add input. The pension plan like Medicare was designed for a birth rate of 2.2 and was set up when birth rate was over 3.0 so there was no problem. The vision was simply to make sure that every generation created enough new taxpayers to keep the fund afloat.  But our birth rate now is 1.6 and of course we are in trouble. The answer is to encourage births. The problem is not too many seniors but too few babies coming up. If we are in panic mode about what would happen in 20 years, well isn't that useful that it takes about 20 years for a baby to become an adult and if we got on that right away, with birth bonuses, and universal mat benefits and income splitting we'd solve the problem!

To think this way requires long term thinking but it is the solution that will work in perpetuity. To think this way also requires though a shift in mindset, to look at children not as burdens that keep us from useful work, but as vital members of society. Their existence is something we need. Their care is something all society should respect.  We need a new cult of moms. Seriously  I have been telling governments this for twenty years now and if they had listened we would not even have the problem today.  But to look back is pointless. Let us however look ahead and not keep making the same mistake.

Australia and Singapore, Korea, Germany, Norway , Sweden and Italy have put in place new policies to value births. They get it.

higher birth rate?

I totally disagree that more births are any kind of a solution. We already have an ecological crisis due to human population so I hardly see how adding more people will solve anything. I believe this pension crisis is a manufactured misrepresentation by Harper. Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page has stated as such and of course is being demonized. He has demanded the financial figures from the government to back their claims and they have provided NOTHING! I would suggest everyone familiarize themselves with CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports) which are now the subject of a lawsuit against the government that also challenges monetary policy. If CAFR were revealed to the public I am sure our "government" is anything but broke. I watched a video of an rep for the state of Oregon arguing against raising taxes for the people of Oregon when the CAFR he had showed the state had 4.9 Billion invested and earning income. We only are ever told about the budget side of fiscal policy. CAFR are like another set of books. I don't know about you but when government collects tax money for social services I expect them to spend it on social services, not set it aside in an investment and then claim they have no money. As far as monetary policy is concerned, every single Canadian should be demanding an answer to why a government that has the lawful DUTY to print the money needed for our society changed to BORROWING it instead from private banks that poof it out of air? How do you think we got to be 600 billion in debt when we only owed 18 billion in 1974?

changing the old age limit

im so close 3 years and im gonna get shoved back , wow what a proud country to be a part of, i guess i have to stay on scocial assistance for a few more years while i wait geeezz thats like saying someones house has burned down bt while they watch it burn its ok because we will rebuild with the lumber we have in the attic, im 62 my wife is 60, why not wait and cut back on immagration and the generous amounts that is given to them that is over and above the going rates for people who are allready canadian s, " you dont suppose t to influience any votes do you ! .........wilf

Pensions

Yep, definitely need more people paying taxes.  Why not do what they do in Brampton, Ontario.  Encourage huge Asian and Jamaican immigration, single family homes are packed with 3 and even 4 families.  Huge numbers of children.  However, crime is soaring, infrastructure broken down, not safe to walk the streets in the evening, education is slidding down the food chain, drugs are rife.  We need to encourage blue collar immigration from Europe, encourage Canadians to have more children etc.  Also, we need risk takers in Canada.  Asian dont take risks, they chase profits but will not spend on anything unless profits are assured.  They also go for pen pushing jobs.  We dont need them.