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Brant residents and New Democrats from across the province were shocked to hear Brant Conservative MP Phil McColeman’s statements in the House of Commons this week.  In a prepared speech McColeman claimed that paying for the Old Age Security program which helps some of the most vulnerable seniors in the country was a “burden” and should not be left to “future generations of Canadians.”

“It’s unfortunate some Conservatives feel that our seniors, receiving $540 a month, are a burden. And that those same MP’s consider $80 Billion of taxpayers money spent on planes that can’t fly and prisons that won’t work, money well spent,” said John Rafferty the New Democratic Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Rainy River in direct response to McColeman’s comments.

Brant NDP representative and 2011 Federal Candidate Marc Laferriere says the local community is equally off put by the Harper Government’s threats to the Old Age Security system. “We’ve received more calls and correspondence on these threats to the Old Age Security system than any other issue since the May 2011 election,” he said.  “This was not mentioned in the platform they ran on less than a year ago and I’m receiving a lot of contact from residents who voted Conservative in the last election who are angry about this.  It’s important that our elected officials speak for our community which clearly is not in favour of any cuts to OAS.”

In his statement McColeman also said “We cannot afford to put our head in the sand and hope the challenge of financial sustainability will go away.”  These statements are in direct conflict with a study commissioned by the Harper government and led by Edward Whitehouse of the World Bank which stated that “Canada does not face major challenges of financial sustainability with its public pension schemes,” and that “there is no financial or fiscal need to increase pension ages in the foreseeable future.”

“It appears the Conservative Government has their head in the sand when it comes to their own research.  They are also willfully putting their head in the sand when it comes to the reality many seniors in our community face now and will face in the future,” said Laferriere.

McColeman’s statements in the House also drew comments from Hamilton East-Stoney Creek MP and the NDP’s critic on Pensions Wayne Marston.

“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.  “A better option for Canadians is to expand the CPP, as the NDP has long argued.  A modest increase in premiums can finance a doubling of CPP benefits for all Canadian workers. This would provide real, sustainable, retirement security for Canadians.”

For the full text of the original speech from the House of Commons please go to www.openparliament.ca

To learn more about the Old Age Security controversy visit http://www.ndp.ca/oas

2 Responses to “Old Age Security far from a “burden.””

  1. Sherry Main

    Phil,
    The "old" people you are so gallantly throwing to the wolves are your parents, grandparents, Brantford's poorest (look to your own community before making mind boggling ageist comments like this). The "old people" you are talking about created the technology to make it possible for you to get elected as a politician. These "old people" created mandatory education, were our past leaders, developed communities so you could grow up in a safe home with plenty of food at your disposal. The list is too long but you need to look at it, especially in your own community.

    These "old people" gave birth to your generation. Yet, you slap them in the face and tell "our old people" they are not worth investing in. Ironically, you are also advocating for people 55+ to return to the work force because you do not have enough trained "old people" to meet the work force needs. I had my pension stolen from me and the police state I will not likely see it again. Then ODSP charged me an over payment for cashing in funds that were stolen. How am I supposed to fight that and, more importantly, how do I survive.

    In Brantford alone, our "old people" are living below the poverty line, well below, do not have safe housing, proper health care to meet their multiple needs (start at the health clinics in Brantford to get a picture), are abused and left to die after working hard their entire lives to give you and yours a proper education.

    Some SOLUTIONS: Why don't we cut back on your pension? Or, your salary? Increase your taxes because you have more jobs and a golden egg pension. This would, of course, benefit all Mp's.

    -Or, stop the mega prisons. We do not live in the U.S. and promoting super prisons puts us in that league. For that matter, we should really put one in Brantford because our insurance rates just skyrocketed because of our postal code (we moved down to the 3rd highest criminal rate this year for all of Canada). The one should do because it would create jobs and we have everyone here anyway.

    Then we could open a wing for the seniors when you cut back or reduce the OAS for the most vulnerable sector in Canadian society. Our "old people" could work for their food and lodging.

    I am not a facetious person. But, we need to find solutions, other then further demeaning our "old people" that put you where you are. You compare apples to oranges when you list our seniors as not as poor as other countries. First of all, is that something Canadians should be proud about. Secondly, again, you need to look in your own back yard.Third, poverty in a society where people make millions of dollars in inexcusable.

    If I ran out and bought an RRSP (with ODSP $) they would deduct it from me and cut me off. I worked for the government, paid for years into pension and have nothing now, in part because of the double whammy of conflicting government policy. Could you sit down with me, let me show you what has happened to my money, look at the policy and then help me invest?

    I am ashamed to say that, with poverty at an all time high, and the unemployment and scab labour provided by temp agencies that stifles Brantford, our very own MP came forth and declared OAS, CPP & GIS is a tax burden. And, you compare apples to oranges when you list our seniors are not as poor as other countries. First of all, is that something Canadians should be proud about. Secondly, again, you need to look in your own back yard..

    Phil, have you ever taken the time to thank your parents for everything they gave up for you so you could get an education and become a politician? Have you thanked your grandparents, or their neighbours or the seniors in our few senior homes? Are you going to thank yourself when you wake up "old" one day.