OTTAWA — The NDP is accusing one of Justin Trudeau's top economic advisers of contradicting the Liberal leader's stance on pension security for Canadian seniors.
But Bill Morneau, who is running for the Liberals in downtown Toronto, says the NDP is taking out of context a 2013 book he co-authored, entitled "The Real Retirement: Why You Could Be Better Off Than You Think and How to Make That Happen."
The NDP is highlighting portions of the book in which Morneau and co-author Fred Vettese question the perception that Canada faces a retirement "crisis" and suggest enhancements to the Canada Pension Plan should be tied to an increase in the retirement age to 67.
Trudeau is campaigning on a promise to expand the CPP and to return the age of eligibility for old age security to 65 from 67.
And he's being actively supported by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who maintains the country faces a crisis down the road if it doesn't help 20, 30 and 40-year-olds today to save for their retirement.
This is just the latest in a tit-for-tat campaign battle between the Liberals and New Democrats as they attempt to cast doubt on the quality of each other's economic advisers and, thus, on the economic savvy of the leaders themselves.
Liberals have been targeting NDP candidate Andrew Thomson, a former Saskatchewan finance minister who is touted as a potential finance minister in a Tom Mulcair government.
Morneau said the NDP hasn't done its homework on his book, which he maintained is entirely consistent with current Liberal policy on retirement security.
The book argues that there is no pension crisis for many current retirees but that there are challenges for a "significant swath" who haven't saved enough and there will be even bigger challenges down the road because of less generous private sector pension plans and a host of other factors, Morneau said.
The reference to increasing the retirement age highlighted by the NDP refers to enhancements to CPP benefits, not to old age security or the guaranteed income supplement, Morneau said, adding that he's always maintained the age of eligibility for those programs, aimed at the most vulnerable seniors, should remain at 65.
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