When I Get Older

Flaherty pushes back the retirement age to 67.

I remember reading about that in the Conservative Election Platform 2011. Er, at least I think I did. Let me take another look. No, not there. Well, let me download the platform. The full pdf is here. It has to be mentioned there.

No. Nothing.

I do remember the Conservatives sending out something about this issue back in 2004. Let’s see if I can find a copy. Oh yes. Here it is:

June 1, 2004

Paul Martin”™s hidden seniors agenda

OTTAWA ”“ Paul Martin”™s real agenda for seniors is so shocking it took an Access to Information request to force it into the light of day.

Mr. Martin plans to raise the retirement age to 67 for Old Age Security (OAS) and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). (Department of Finance White Paper, 1995). This means Canadians would have to work two years longer only to receive less from their public pension.

Under Mr. Martin”™s proposal the poorest senior would receive over $24,000 less in OAS than he or she would be entitled to today. And a worker receiving full CPP at age 67 would receive almost $20,000 less than today.

Funny how Mr. Martin failed to be perfectly clear about these facts at today”™s news conference.

For more information, please contact the Conservative Press Office: (613) 364-6040

Okay. Well the Conservatives did not seem to support raising the retirement age back in 2004. And they failed to mention anything about it in their election platform in 2011. But it is 2012. Things have changed. Economic meltdowns. Budget deficits. WE MUST TAKE BOLD STEPS TO SECURE OUR FUTURE. The usual stuff.

Our prime minister provided the full picture to Canadians. Was it from Ottawa? No. It was in Davos, Switzerland. At the World Economic Forum. Didn’t Samuel Huntington have something to say about Davos? Right. The Davos Man:

Davos Man is a neologism which refers to the global elite of wealthy men whose members view themselves as completely international. Davos is an Alpine city in eastern Switzerland which became famous in the 1990s for hosting the World Economic Forum, an annual gathering of international politicians and financiers who represented a transnational elite. It is similar to the term Masters of the Universe attributed to influential financiers on Wall St.

Davos Men supposedly see their identity as a matter of personal choice, not an accident of birth. According to political scientist Samuel P. Huntington, who is credited with inventing the phrase “Davos Man”,[50] they are people who “have little need for national loyalty, view national boundaries as obstacles that thankfully are vanishing, and see national governments as residues from the past whose only useful function is to facilitate the élite’s global operations”.

Perfect. A symbolic location to make a pronouncement on the retirement age for Canadians. Probably a nice place to visit too.

From the House Of Commons in February of this year:

Hon. Diane Finley (Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, one thing Canadians deserve is the truth and the truth is exactly what the Prime Minister and I have been saying for some time now.

As it stands, the current OAS system is not sustainable into the future. We do have to make changes so that future generations can still expect to get some OAS. In doing that, we will protect and preserve the benefits that current Canadian retirees are receiving, and those who are near retirement will receive. However, we must take action. It is the responsible thing to do for all Canadians.

Yes. Clearly the current OAS system is not sustainable. Oh, wait. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has a different view. Well, he is not a politician so clearly he does not know what he is talking about. He is lying. I am sure that the truth is whatever Diane Finley said in the House of Commons.

We must take action. It is the responsible thing to do for all Canadians.

So. How will this change impact Canadians?

Michael Wolfson is an expert advisor with EvidenceNetwork.ca and Canada Research Chair in Population Health Modeling/Populomics at the University of Ottawa. He is also former assistant chief statistician at Statistics Canada and former federal advisor on pension policy.

Wolfson says that if the eligibility age was today raised to 66-years-old, the government would net a savings of $3.5 billion (after factoring in a decrease in income and sales tax revenues). But the changes would also cost the provinces $500 million in lost revenue from income and sales taxes.

Many of the nearly 700,000 Canadians age 65 and 66 might have to compensate for the shortfall by working more, withdrawing more from their savings and/or moving in with relatives.

Without taking such measures, the number of Canadians aged 65-66 falling below StatsCan”™s after-tax Low Income Measure (LIM) would more than double from about 50,000 to nearly 120,000, Wolfson estimates. This would also force more seniors into provincial social assistance programs.

As a result, the net benefit to the country of raising the retirement age would essentially be nil…

Public policy at its finest.

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