Pension_ScrabbleFollowing is a letter sent to New Brunswick newspapers by our Chapter Chair.

This letter is to express the Fredericton CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) Chapter #27s dismay with the Federal conservative government’s refusal, once again, to begin a dialogue on how to responsibly expand the Canada Pension Plan. Almost everyone, including Quebec, is on board for a review. The plan, including the Quebec Pension, is doing well. At the end of 2012 CPP revenue was up 13.7 % compared to 8 % for regular savings plans. While the revenue is there to expand CPP payments, the federal conservative’s plan is to re-victimize the middle and low class who lacked the financial resources to invest in registered savings plans.
The only two provinces that have yet to hop onto the CPP expansion bandwagon are Alberta and New Brunswick. Here in this province, Finance Minister Blaine Higgs has said that an expansion of the CPP “means that workers will contribute a larger portion of their paycheques and employers will be required to match these higher contributions. In a slow-growing economy, this would have adverse implications.” CARP begs to differ. Increased spending means more revenue for government.
Let’s not forget that there are also potential economic advantages to CPP enhancements — the contributions are reinvested in the economy, it helps businesses retain workers when the workers feel more financially secure, and, most importantly, it would be a modest and phased in CPP enhancement, taking place over 5-10 years potentially, and equivalent to only $20 a month increase for some employees. Though the concerns Mr Higgs has for New Brunswicks economy are very real, the benefits from CPP enhancements would apply to all New Brunswick residents.
In a poll conducted by CARP, its members overwhelmingly said that they would vote against the conservatives if they maintain their current stance. The percentage of Canadians with pensions has dropped from 46 % to 38% in recent years, further creating an imperative for the Federal conservatives to get on board and take a serious look at how they can expand the Canada Pension Plan.
As we all know, a family’s income determines the quality of housing they can afford, the food they eat and their ability to supplement their health care needs and ultimately their health and well-being. Boomers are set to become the largest segment of the Canadian population, many of whom were barely making ends meet and could not afford to contribute to registered savings plans.
The Harper government’s penchant for maintaining the status quo has so far not served them well. The CPP expansion issue and Harper’s refusal to look at a reasonable solution may well become the proverbial albatross around his neck and a serious political liability in the future.
It’s time for the federal conservatives to rethink their position and allow Canadians to live out their retirement in dignity.
Suzanne Maltais
Fredericton CARP Chapter 27