CONSERVATIVE MAJORITY ABUSE! “Fat-Cat” Gold Plated Pension Hogging Conservatives Trying To Kill Poor Seniors’ Measly OAS

0
222

Keep Your Hands Off Seniors’ Pensions, Opposition Parties Tell Conservatives

It has to be hypocrisy of the highest kind and an abuse of democracy that Conservatives with not even a year in power are abusing their majority government with a whole host of bonehead manoeuvres like abolishing the gun registry and trying to kill dissent on the Enbridge oil pipeline with the latest being trying to raise the age of seniors to 67 from 65 before they can collect Old Age Security (OAS) pension. Whatever the motives – Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s ill thinking can be summed up this way. He’s hoping that either the seniors will die before they qualify or shortly after, thereby cutting a huge take from the national treasury. Old Age pension is a right all Canadians have and it should not be tinkered with to make up for deficits created by Conservatives own bulging defence and crime budgets.

(Pullout #2 – middle )

“They [Conservatives] have no problem spending $30 billion on their F-35 boondoggle and another $19 billion for their unpopular prisons agenda, but they can’t spare $540 a month for Canada’s poorest seniors. It’s about time they get their priorities straight,” said NDP’s Pensions critic Wayne Marston.

By R. Paul Dhillon’ With News Files

OTTAWA— It has to be hypocrisy of the highest kind and an abuse of democracy that Conservatives with not even a year in power are abusing their majority government with a whole host of bonehead manoeuvres like abolishing the gun registry and trying to kill dissent on the Enbridge oil pipeline with the latest being trying to raise the age of seniors to 67 from 65 before they can collect Old Age Security (OAS) pension.

Whatever the motives – Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s ill thinking can be summed up this way. He’s hoping that either the seniors will die before they qualify or shortly after, thereby cutting a huge take from the national treasury.

Old Age pension is a right all Canadians have and it should not be tinkered with to make up for deficits created by Conservatives own bulging defence and crime budgets.

Many Canadians are on the side of the underdog seniors over the fat-cat Conservatives and their rightwing agenda.

Bothe the opposition NDP and the Liberals are rightly stepping up their efforts to whip up public opposition to proposed changes by the Harper government to OAS.

The Liberals have launched an online petition where Canadians worried about the impact of OAS reforms can speak out. More than 12,000 signatures have been collected in less than a week, the party said Wednesday.

“Our constituents are calling, emailing and visiting our constituency offices to tell us they want the Conservatives to take their hands off their pensions,” Liberal Leader Bob Rae said after his party’s caucus meeting, where Liberals were handing out newly minted red buttons saying “Hands Off Seniors’ Pensions.”

“During the last election Stephen Harper said he would not reduce transfer payments to provinces or individuals,” Rae said. “But now he’s threatening to take away tens of thousands of dollars of support from the seniors who need it most.”

Rae told reporters Harper’s expected changes to OAS reflect “neo-Conservative” policies and will penalize low-income retirees while downloading support costs for seniors on provincial and municipal governments.

Harper has said long-term reforms to the OAS are needed so Ottawa can keep it intact for future generations of retirees. But the Conservatives have not said how they plan to reduce costs for the program, which supplements the Canada Pension Plan for millions of modest income seniors.

Speculation has centered on a move that would eventually raise the eligibility requirement for OAS by two years, to age 67. Details are expected in the federal budget next month. But the Conservatives note that any changes would not affect those who are now retired or are about to retire.

The government should be focusing on eliminating poverty among seniors rather than using them to balance the federal budget, the NDP says.

The motion that will be debated in the Commons reads: “That this House rejects calls by the Prime Minister to balance the Conservative deficit on the backs of Canada’s seniors by means such as raising the age of eligibility for Old Age Security and calls on the government to make the reduction and eventual elimination of seniors’ poverty a cornerstone of the next budget.”

Given the Conservative majority, the motion is unlikely to pass when it is voted on next week. But it will give the NDP a chance to draw more public attention to the pensions issue that has blown up into a major controversy since Harper first mentioned his plan to change OAS in a speech in Davos, Switzerland last week.

Pensions critic Wayne Marston (Hamilton East – Stoney Creek) added that budget cuts are all about choices – and Stephen Harper could easily choose wiser.

“The Conservatives gave $16 billion in tax cuts to profitable corporations without receiving a single job guarantee. And now, facing a revenue shortfall, they expect Canadian seniors to pay the price,” said Marston.

“They have no problem spending $30 billion on their F-35 boondoggle and another $19 billion for their unpopular prisons agenda, but they can’t spare $540 a month for Canada’s poorest seniors. It’s about time they get their priorities straight,” said Marston.

The Liberals said Friday that the Conservative government must consult with the provinces and territories before making any changes to Old Age Security.