Stephen Harper’s anti-pension obsession shows how much he does not understand the needs of Canadians of all ages. Ontario voters gave their tacit approval for the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan which is a new pension plan when they elected their government last year. Yet Harper is going out of his way to block this program. In a letter leaked to the media before it was sent to Queen’s Park, federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver said Ottawa won’t provide administrative support for the retirement scheme because the Tories disagree with it.
There is a strong argument to be made for first improving the Canada Pension Plan to help Canadians and the Canadian economy, however Harper believes that his approach of increasing limits on Tax Free Savings Accounts and Registered Retirement Savings Plans are the way to go. In fact these plans do little for the average Canadian because they do not maximize them. Only the top 6% maximize these plans.
The integration of the Ontario Plan with the Canadian Pension Plan makes sense and would benefit people in Ontario and help the economy and save costs. However in his letter Joe Oliver says "Ontario’s proposed pension plan would “take money from workers and their families, kill jobs and damage the economy,”
“For these reasons, we will not assist the Ontario government in the implementation of the ORPP,” he said, referring to the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan “administration of the ORPP will be the sole responsibility of the Ontario government, including the collection of contributions and any required information.”
Stephen Harper makes $167,400 a year plus allowance and when he retires he will make a lot more than the $12,000 the Canada Pension Plan pays out.
Harper does not like seniors, his government has over the years attacked programs that affect seniors such as Health Care and Pensions and when election is called he promises them the moon and many of my age group fall for his propaganda:
At Davos he attacked Canada’s long-established old-age security program as having the “capacity to undermine Canada’s economic position”. With a now predictable linguistic twist, pensions are made a “threat to social programs”. The increasing number of elderly, not increasing inequality from corporate economic growth, becomes responsible for the government having to cut spending. Seniors now join the ranks of the other groups being scapegoated by Harper’s corporate agenda.
The Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC) – the national representative of union retiree groups across Canada, including B.C. FORUM – accuses the Harper government of attacking seniors with its proposal to change eligibility for Old Age Security benefits.
CURC President Pat Kerwin says moving retirement to age 67 would just make things worse for many seniors.
“If the government wanted to insure decent incomes for tomorrow’s seniors, it should be advocating the improvement of both the Canada and Quebec Pension plans,” Kerwin says.
Finally from the numbers
$6,481 is the current maximum annual OAS pension
$8,788 is the current maximum annual Guaranteed Income Supplement for a single person (this maximum is reached if no other income than OAS)
$223,500 is the yearly amount of Stephen Harper’s expected pension, which he can start collecting in 2015 at age 56.
32 is the percentage of Canadians between the ages of 25 and 54 who will be relying on OAS, Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) and Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) – as the major source of income in retirement
The Bottom line: Stephen Harper is a leader who can't be trusted. A leader who doesn't believe in pensions, and and only pretends to care about seniors. So if you are a senior in Canada and are thinking of voting for Harper in the next election, I strongly advice you to rethink your vote.