Decision to ice CPP expansion in favour of "further study" bodes ill for Canadians' retirement
KANANASKIS, AB, Dec. 20 /CNW/ - Alberta Federation of Labour Gil McGowan
says the federal-provincial finance ministers' decision to put CPP
expansion on ice misses an historic opportunity for retirement security
for millions of working Canadians.
"Reform delayed is likely to be reform denied," says McGowan.
"It is clear what happened here: the federal government, along with a
tiny minority of provinces, bowed to the pressure exerted by the
financial services industry and succeeded in delaying improvements to
the CPP," says McGowan. "Alberta Finance Minister Ted Morton has called
this a good weekend for Alberta. I would say it's more appropriate to
call it a great weekend for Canada's big banks," says McGowan.
Speaking from Kananaskis, McGowan notes there was a strong consensus
from at least 6 provinces to move ahead with expanding CPP.
"The good news is there remains a strong appetite - from coast to coast
to coast - for pension reform, and most provinces are unequivocal in
their support of improving CPP," says McGowan, crediting provinces like
Ontario, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia for exercising leadership in keeping
CPP improvements on the table.
"It is crucial that 'further study' doesn't turn into another convenient
excuse to do nothing," adds McGowan.
"We have been down this road before. In 1979, Canadian finance ministers
began a CPP expansion process. It was quickly scuttled by the financial
sector, which exerted enormous pressure on Alberta and Ontario's
Conservative governments of the day," says McGowan.
"1979 was a cautionary tale for how vested interests can easily deny
millions of Canadians a secure future via the most stable, predictable,
and secure vehicle we have - the CPP," says McGowan.
"Canadians need to keep up the pressure on their provincial and federal
politicians to make sure history does not repeat itself," says McGowan.
The President of the AFL adds that the agreement to move forward on a
so-called "Pooled Retirement Pension Plan" - administered by the big
banks - is at best a half-measure.
"At worst, this private-sector retirement savings scheme is a
distraction from real reform. The plan is nothing more than glorified
RRSPs, which have failed the majority of Canadians for decades. It will
not solve the real problem: adequate replacement of pre-retirement
income, based on a low-cost, low-risk plan that benefits modest income
earners," says McGowan.
The Alberta Federation of Labour and the Canadian Labour Congress have
an ongoing campaign for improvements to the CPP, with a modest increase
to premiums and a doubling of CPP benefits over time. More details are
SOURCE Alberta Federation of Labour
For further information: For further information:
Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour @ cell 780-218-9888 or office 780-483-3021