Even Bush couldn’t privatize social security. But Jim Flaherty found a way to inject the cancer of privatization into our national pension strategy after spending months letting us all think his words that supported the CPP actually meant anything. Silly us for putting any credence into that.
Flaherty’s double cross is to abandon improving the CPP to maximize all of our elders’ financial stability in their senior years in favour of creating a
“private pension plan for small businesses, employees and the self-employed” because “now is not the time for mandatory increases for Canada Pension Plan premiums, saying Canada’s economic recovery remains fragile and the Conservative government is worried about ‘putting more burdens on employers and employees.'”
Below is what we should have been doing with the CPP.
I say this all again because when we go to the polls this spring or some time after that, if you know anyone who is retired or even over 40, you need to tell them that the Conservative government, along with their Liberal coalition partners, if they don’t block this privatized pension plan, have set back even further the possibility that all elders will get to live in dignity in Canada. This fight just became an election issue, hopefully enough to crash the parliament along the way.
And if you’re under 40 and you vote to support the Conservatives with their anti-universal seniors’ financial dignity privatization scheme, then I hope you know how to respond to the seniors in your life who will be one step closer to economic despair because of yet another missed opportunity to help lift them out of poverty. Because that would mean actually building the Canada we have inherited isn’t worth much after all.
We need to fight for collective solutions by fighting the insidious ideology that individualized retirement plans will save us all. RRSP tax breaks only help the 25 per cent of Canadians who are wealthy enough to contribute to RRSPs. This is absurd.
Similarly, we need to fight for the dignity of retired workers so we can stop seeing our elders living in such economic circumstance that they’re forced to ask if we’d “like fries with that,” or to awkwardly greet us in a chain clothing store.
Since even our current federal finance minister has noted the value and stability of the CPP, we need to use the minority government context to support the Canadian Labour Congress and the NDP in their efforts to pressure the vulnerable Liberals and Conservatives to enhance the CPP. After all, we got the CPP in the first place in a minority government situation, along with Medicare and student loans. Doubling the CPP and increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement would make a substantial difference in people’s lives.