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UPDATE: Council to participate in pension action outside Jim Flaherty’s office

On June 12, the Council of Canadians will be participating in an action outside the federal finance minister’s office to call for an expansion of the Canada Pension Plan. This protest comes just prior to a finance ministers meeting where major decisions will be made about the CPP.

CUPE notes, “The CPP expansion crew will be donning hard hats and bringing construction gear to the Minister of Finance office to show how easy it is to build the CPP. The group is calling for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to support the call to expand the CPP so all Canadian workers can have a secure retirement. Bring your work gloves and your tool kit, and join us for this fun and meaningful action.” The action takes place on June 12 at 3 pm at 140 O’Connor Street at the Ministry of Finance office.

In January 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper pledged to the world’s corporate elite in Davos, “We’ve already taken steps to limit the growth of our health care spending. We must do the same for our retirement-income system.” His government had already announced a unilateral cut of $36 billion over a ten year period to health care spending, and just a few months after Davos his government used its false majority in the House of Commons to pass C-38, a budget implementation bill that will increase the eligibility age for Old Age Security from 65 to 67.

But last December, the Globe and Mail reported, “Positive comments from the (finance) ministers mean that a major national policy move that had largely disappeared from public debate is now very much on the agenda and could be approved by the end of 2013.” Ontario and Quebec are reportedly in support of enhancing CPP benefits, while Alberta is the most resistant. And while federal bureaucrats have recommended a modest expansion of the CPP, Flaherty has worked to sabotage the process.

The Council of Canadians joins with CUPE and many others in demanding that the finance ministers:

  • support the Canadian Labour Congress’s proposal to double Canada Pension Plan benefits to ensure a better minimum pension for all Canadians. The CPP replacement rate would double from 25 per cent to 50 per cent, which would push maximum payments to $24,000 per year and average payments to $12,600 per year.
  • ask the federal government not to stand in the way of the provisions of the Canada Pension Plan legislation, which states that 2/3 of the provinces representing 2/3 of the Canadian population can approve amendments to the plan.
  • refuse any delay or limits on when improvements will come into effect or who will have access to improved CPP.

In the 1990s, the Council of Canadians launched a massive three-year campaign against the Chretien government’s plan to ‘restructure’ of pensions in Canada – and won. That historic campaign included a petition that drew half a million signatures.

For more, please read:
NEWS: Major national policy move on expanding the CPP to be discussed in June
VIEW: Flaherty sabotaging doable pension benefit increases
UPDATE: Council calls for increased pension benefits as finance ministers meet at Meech Lake
UPDATE: Preparing for the fight for pensions in Canada