Thursday, July 28, 2011

Canada's Pension Crisis Worsens As Harper "Government" Sits On Hands

When we start talking about Canada's pension crisis it becomes abundantly clear just how little the "Harper Government" cares about Canada's seniors. In typical Reform-a-Tory fashion they try to "create" issues within a sub-population while they ignore the real issues.

Here is Ralph Goodale's take on it:


The Harper government’s ideological straight-jacket prevents it from doing anything meaningful to enhance Canada’s public pension system.

In June, the Conservatives arbitrarily cancelled a federal-provincial meeting to examine ways of bolstering the Canada Pension Plan. Then in July, they announced a travelling road-show to promote their idea of privately-run “pooled registered pension plans” instead of the CPP.

This public relations campaign is a clear admission that Harper & Co. fully understand the political potency of the worries most Canadians have about income insecurity in their retirement. But this government just can’t bring itself to begin fixing the core problem – i.e., the insufficiency of the CPP.

The private plans being peddled by the Conservatives will be big profit-makers for the banks and insurance companies that run them. They could also be useful add-ons to a properly expanded public pension system.

All by themselves, however, Mr. Harper’s private plans will come nowhere near dealing with the reality that 75% of employees in the private sector have no workplace pension plan whatsoever.

Combine that fact with Canada’s rapidly changing demographics.

This year, the baby-boomers begin retiring in big numbers. More and more will do so with every passing year. We will soon have a shrinking workforce, but the biggest generation of senior citizens in history. And most of those seniors will not have adequate retirement incomes.

A stronger CPP is the central pillar by which these problems should be addressed.

The Canada Pension Plan is familiar to the largest percentage of Canadians. It has the biggest reach. It extracts no management fees or private profit margins. It has a superlative investment record, and (thanks to former Finance Minister Paul Martin) it’s financially secure for at least 75 years.

The best way to provide greater pension security to the largest proportion of Canadians is to build on the proven success of the CPP.

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