Dec. 21, 2010 - Issue #792 : In Case of Holiday Break Glass
As 2010 comes to a close and the new year approaches, our thoughts often turn to our own futures—renewed efforts to try new things, sticking to that diet and making something more of the upcoming year. So it seems a convenient time for the nation to turn its attention to the Canada Pension Plan—the very definition of preparing for the future—just as the nation's finance ministers did this past week when they met in Kananaskis. Unfortunately, much like that diet plan you're currently planning to put off by the first week of January, talks of changing the CPP were delayed until a later date when the federal finance minister Jim Flaherty decided instead to look toward other options of pension reform.
Changes to the pension plan are a rather large deal in this country. Having existed for just over 40 years, the plan requires support from two-thirds of the provinces representing two-thirds of the Canadian population.
Discussions amongst the provinces began this time last year when a report was tabled discussing the inadequacy of workplace pension plans and how the recessionary trends had nearly destroyed the viability of private pension plans due to market volatility. This led to the majority of premiers believing an expansion of the CPP is the best way to increase assistance to retiring seniors and ensure Canadians are less likely to be reliant on tax-funded programs in their old age.
The one man who appears to stand in the way of future talks is our own finance minister Ted Morton, who has been vocal about his opposition to expansion of the CPP, along the same lines as the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses who believe expanding the CPP would place undue burden on businesses already suffering from recessionary trends. Flaherty now seems to be echoing these sentiments.
This all seems to be a show set to repeat from 1979, the last time CPP expansions were discussed and put on hold due to opposition from Alberta and Ontario. But if the Canadian government had led with some courage back then, seniors today would not be in the situation of poverty many of them are facing, a situation that 60 percent of Canadians without workplace pension plans will be facing soon. This time we can't put the future off to tomorrow: the CPP needs changing and the discussion can't be left to the wayside like a forgotten new year's resolution. V
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