I want to thank Bruce Moncur for his piece, "Trudeau's Liberals Anything But Sunny Ways For Veterans," and for attending Veterans Affairs Canada's (VAC) stakeholder summit on May 9 to 10. To date, it was the department's largest and best-attended, and he made some invaluable contributions both as a member of the greater assembly and individually when we had an opportunity to speak one-on-one during a lunch break. Bruce points out in his piece that Budget 2016 did not include all of the items in the mandate letter I received from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when I took office as minister of veterans affairs in November 2015. He's right.
The Liberal government was going to allow the abeyance on the Equitas lawsuit -- the court case in which the government has been arguing the "moral obligation" they have to soldiers maimed in war -- to run out. The biggest piece of the Liberal party platform and mandate letter was the reestablishment of life-long pension, and now they are going to court to argue against it.
The Trudeau government's first budget offered hope but little change on increasing the CPP in our lifetime. After extolling the virtues of the Canada Pension Plan, we're told that the finance ministers talked about enhancing the CPP last December and set a goal of making a collective decision before the end of 2016.
Ordinarily Canadians who retire before age 65 and choose to draw CPP early receive reduced benefits for the rest of their lives. That makes sense as they will not have paid in as much in premiums. The bridge benefit allows many government workers to claim their full pension early, penalty-free. If this seems rather unfair, that's because it is.
The Registered Disability Savings Plan is a savings plan that helps parents and caretakers of those with a disability save for their loved one's long-term financial future with some financial contributions coming directly from the government -- free money, in other words. So why are so few using the RDSP?
There are many more election promises that will improve the quality of life for all Canadians as we age -- this election has been an embarrassment of riches in that sense. Many, like pharmacare or restarting the Health Accords, will take some time to work out so it's important to start the consultation and planning process right away.
Before we blindly adopt the Australian pension system as our own, we need to take several long moments in deep thought and contemplation -- and look at the evidence. Yes, you are able to invest as you wish. In fact, you are responsible for investing your dollars to achieve the highest rate of return available. Is this something for which you feel capable?
Pension reform continues to hold interest across the country, especially given the willingness of the federal Conservatives to at least talk about expanding the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). Pundits and politicos are weighing in now with blunt talk of "voluntary" or "mandatory" enhancements to CPP. Neither may be exactly what Canadians want. Here's why.
The pre-election debate on improving the Canada Pension Plan is important and overdue. Despite the Harper government's reluctance, there is a broad consensus that, as a national newspaper said recently, "raising mandatory CPP contribution rates and boosting future payouts are the most prudent, most effective and least costly fix." But that's not enough.
A new report came out this week that reiterates what we've heard from other sources a few times now: Canadians aren't saving nearly enough for retirement. The Deputy Chief Economist of the CIBC warns that without pension reform now, younger workers today will see a steep decline in living standards as they retire. The Conservative government has recently announced it would like to have a dialogue with Canadians about a potential expansion of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). While this, in itself, is a purely political action -- since it commits the government to nothing -- it is worth looking at what the possible outcomes might be.
A government with a hate-on for its workers doesn't just go after those still employed; it also revels in undermining the security of its former workers: us retirees.This year has seen the implementation of an additional $500 payment for my healthcare plan. Despite protests from our retirees association and from the unions, the government effectively broke our contract and unilaterally imposed the extra charge.
Recently, Canada's military has come under deliberate, sustained attack. In fact, our Forces may already have been vanquished. Not by an enemy, but by the nation it defends. Faith in Canada's support is the one thing our Forces absolutely, positively must have to be effective. But that was taken away last year, bringing the days of selflessly charging into danger to a crashing halt.
I might be betraying my demographic but I think it's time we seniors started asking for less. For years now, those in the over-60 age group have been making out like bandits while the younger generations struggle to make ends meet. Unlike in years past, there are now relatively few seniors in developed nations suffering in poverty. The iconic image of an aging widow living on cat food is today largely a myth. Older folks, for the most part, live comfortable lives.