ONTARIO WILL GO IT ALONE ON PENSIONS AS CARP CALLS FOR CPP ENHANCEMENT TO BE A FEDERAL ELECTION ISSUE

Dec 17, 2013

By Jane Brown

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The provincial finance minister is promising a “Made in Ontario” solution to increase benefits to pensioners.  Charles Sousa made the comments after yesterday’s meeting with his provincial counterparts and Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty at Meech Lake, Quebec.  Sousa says Flaherty blocked efforts to enrich the Canada Pension Plan and didn’t even agree to further study.  “In fact, I’m very disappointed that they use stall tactics in order to ensure that CPP enhancement wasn’t even considered at this point in time,” Sousa explained, “We need leadership right now.  We need vision and we need to ensure that Canadians all across Canada are protected.”

Sousa and ministers from P.E.I., Quebec and British Columbia all said Ottawa was the only voice against consultations and study.  P.E.I. Finance Minister Wes Sheridan suggested he may join Ontario.  CARP – A New Vision of Aging – has also been pushing for CPP enhancement.  “We warned them and it’s just going to have to become an election issue when it comes right down to it,” said Susan Eng, CARP’s Vice President of Advocacy.  Eng further explained to ZoomerMedia News, “At this point, what we’re looking at is the Ontario government will probably move on it’s promise to go it alone.  We can’t wait for them to futz around again.  My understand is that this time it was the federal government that nixed the growing consensus of the provinces.  So, there’s no point waiting for another veto.  It’s going to be an election issue across Canada.”

The federal position is that any hike in CPP premiums amounts to a payroll tax that would result in fewer jobs, as well as taking money out of workers’ pockets.  Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said he wouldn’t rule out CPP enhancement in the future, but for now, “we wait and see, do what we’re doing and focus on jobs growth, prosperity, and a positive budget.”

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