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Don’t let Harper steal your retirement benefits

Posted by Judy Sgro on January 27, 2012 | No Comments

Judy Sgro

As Canadians, we work hard. We pay our taxes, and save for retirement. But now Stephen Harper wants to take that away from us – unless you stop him.

Retired Canadians and those approaching retirement have every reason to be worried after Stephen Harper attacked Old Age Security (OAS) benefits during a speech in Europe.

He’s prepared to raise the age Canadians qualify for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement from 65 to 67. If you’re approaching 65 that means you could miss out on as much as $30,000 of payments that you were counting on.

Liberals know the best way to make sure income tested benefits likes OAS and the Guaranteed Income Supplement are affordable is by ensuring Canadians have access to strong pension plans so they won’t need the extra benefits. That is the path to sustainable prosperity for all Canadians.

Let’s stop Stephen Harper’s money grab now, before he puts it in the budget. Let’s not let him build more jails on the back of our retirement savings.

Please sign our petition and share it on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you.

Judy Sgro

Liberal Seniors and Pensions critic

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Please note that comments are moderated with the goal of stimulating an intelligent and fruitful discussion. As such, we ask that you use language that is civil and respectful, and refrain from attacks of any kind. We reserve the right to remove or not post any comments or information that does not meet these requirements.
  1. Avatar of Don Girard Don Girard said on

    I need more explanation, who is being cut and by how much per month, is it the ones most in need or the ones not in need at all. I thought the cuts were not on anyone born before 1959, that would be 12 years from now, surely ample time to reverse any changes. Is the 30,000 loss for everyone or only for certain individuals, or is it a worse case scenario guess?

    What income level is being cut, or is it only the effect of 2 years later. Do we even know what the plan is clearly? A plan that improves CPP while reducing OAS for the same individuals may make sense. Not restricting CPP contributions is a start. Most of my life I was self employed, but could not contribute enough to CPP and so now have a minimal pension, making OAS more important, if I had paid more I would not need or want OAS.

    So what is the whole package? Not everything any government does is bad and some is necessary, our party did some not so pleasant things to balance the budget. It may be time to be realistic, and fight the issues like jails, jet and other spending if we want to save some of our social programs.

    We have to offer alternatives, explained well, not just criticize the other guy. So far do we even have the true proposal?

    I would like to see MLA benefits and pensions cut first, fairer taxation of the wealthy, more taxation of the highly profitable businesses etc. Do away with the senate and all the pensions. Reduce all current pensions for MLA’s and the senate. Cut expense accounts for all government departments, public service as well, and keep more jobs.

    Show what the conservatives expect to save by these cuts, and then show how we would do it better, with cuts etc as in the above paragraph, most Canadians are more intelligent then most politicians allow them.

    We need more transparency, not only from the government, but from the oppositions as well. Tell us that a 1% gst increase will save the OAS and more.

  2. Avatar of Bill Bill said on

    #economy Knowing Mr. Harper, changes are going to be incremental so there are not going to be any sudden $30,000 shocks.
    With the upcoming senior’s boom there may have to be sacrifices. At present OAS starts being clawed back at about $68,000. In my view people with incomes at that level do not need OAS at all.
    We, as a society, cannot afford to provide additional support to a horde of seniors living in luxury condos, spending winters in Arizona and running off to all parts of the world a few times a year.

  3. Avatar of John Birke John Birke said on

    Sorry Judy, while I flat out detest Harper and his minions, I cannot agree with your stance. The demographics are changing and the Liberal party needs a well thought out, coherent, fiscal solution to the situation, not just a diatribe against the Conservatives.

    Raising the retirement age to 67 may not be the right answer…maybe it should be 70 years of age. When my grandparents received OAS, the average length of life was actually less than the eligible retirement age and CPP was not in place.

    You are not doing us any favours by giving knee jerk reaction to Harper’s proposals. Would it not be better to encourage discussion amoung the party and then put forth suggestions or a nuanced alternative. The Conservatives do have one thing correct, we need to look at pension costs. Don makes some excellent points. We need to put forth a Liberal alternative that is fiscally responsible, takes care of those in the lower socio-economic bracket, does not penalize our children and grandchildren, and fosters an awareness of the importance of family financial planning relative to retirement. Can we reach the required objectives by lowering the clawback threshold over a period of time?

  4. Avatar of rick cust rick cust said on

    Judy your statement said Canadians pay our taxes and save for our retirement ,then you say Harper will take that away from us.I sure don’t support Harper but how will he take our savings away ,please be more careful when you post comments

  5. Avatar of James Mills James Mills said on

    The Conservative are claiming that OAS expenditures will triple without accounting for GDP grow. According to Conservative press releases OAS expenditures will Triple; increasing from $36.5 billion in 2010 to $108-billion in 2030. However; as a % of GDP the real increase will be from about 2.4% GDP in 2010, to about 3.1% GDP in 2030. Also, 2030 is the projected spending declines after 2030. (In 2030 the proportion of the population that are seniors will reach its maximum, after that this proportion declines rapidly.)
    The big issue here is the deceit of the Conservatives. They are creating wedge issue by misrepresenting the data. The projected cash expenditures must be evaluated relative to GDP. This is nothing but an attack on an economic stability program, which appeals to Conservatives supporters who pretend economic stability programs are socialist.

    The fact is that 6% per year gross GDP growth will Triple GDP in 20 years. (6% is a realistic expectation for gross GDP growth. Since 1971 GDP growth has been 9% per while Liberals have been in government, and 5% per year while Conservatives have been in government. Conservative trickledown economic policies undermine consumer spending, and consequently economic growth slows. Economic stabilization programs like OAS are important to maintaining GDP growth.)

    Also, Conservatives are exaggerating the effect of OAS on the tax burden. They state that OAS is about 13% of federal government spending. Significant though this may be to federal government spending, to assess the effect on the tax burden the budgets of all levels of government must be considered. OAS expenditure is only 5% of the budget of all levels of government (federal, provincial, municipal.)

    The Liberal Party must expose the Conservatives attempt to create a wedge for what it is … deceit … misrepresentation of data. Also, despite the Conservative pretense that cutting OAS is fiscal responsibility, in fact it is ideology that undermines consumer spending and the economy.

  6. Avatar of Bill Bill said on

    OAS payments count as taxable income as well. This means some percentage of it is paid back at tax time. I wonder if Harper is taking this into account?

  7. Avatar of Bernice  Graham Bernice Graham said on

    I am toially confused…all these figures that are quoted for 10-20 years down the road are totally statistical/guessed, right? How does anyone know what the economy will be even 5 years from now? Could be booming again! So why are the Cons making all these dire changes now? You can be sure they will not back down after taking all the abuse they are getting from everyone.

  8. Avatar of Don Girard Don Girard said on

    OAS is, in my opinion, Harper manipulating the rest of us to take our minds off of the other issues. He and We know we can not stop them from doing what they want, so why would he bait us in advance of even releasing details. To make us look bad or stupid in the long run.

    We should not take the bait, other then making the public know that we will not risk OAS, short or long term, that creating more poverty to pay down debt is not the answer, and that it is the ones who have the money who benefit most from having less poverty. That priorities like debt should be covered better by fewer less expensive jets, which only benefits foreigners, and leaving OAS alone or even improving it.

    It seems like the conservatives think that worldly obligations are more important then domestic obligations. In 20 years under LPC we would have better OAS, and health care and fewer jets and jails. Canadians must of course choose in the next election, because if the conservatives last any longer we will be terrible harmed for a very long time. It took Mulroney only a short time to wreck our economy and the LPC several years to fix it, now we are on the road to destruction again.

    How can we possible keep this up, the LPC is never given a chance to spend the surpluses we create. Think if we can fix economies left in ruin by the conservatives what we would do with surpluses besides paying down debt.

    At this point in time the conservative have not only made us in debt federally to new highs, they also have encouraged personal debt to new highs. They claim fiscal responsibility, yet could not manage a surplus that was in place for downturns. We have to decide the issues and not get baited, do not over play this for Harper.

    LPC respond and then decide what the issues will be, with new policy, make them come to you. Start with cutting MLA pensions, this will be very public, and the conservatives, one can bet, is going to take a token step here, lets make it a real step and owned by us.

  9. Avatar of Joan Richard Joan Richard said on

    I tend to agree with rcust, that we need to present well thought-out alternatives to Harper’s position. Knee-jerk reactions are for the reactionaries in the Conservative Party. Let’s play smarter. Bob Rae has the touch, and seems to be able to present fairly complex ideas in a way that is understandable and received positively by most of us peons. If I recall correctly, Michael Ignatieff held a conference to discuss just this very issue, including experts from many fields. Where are the results of that discussion and can we use them to develop a Liberal pension policy?

  10. Avatar of Steven Moore Steven Moore said on

    This is an excellent example of why the left (Liberals, NDP, and Green) must unite, or at least cooperate, to win back democracy from the current Harper government. Harper did it on the right, we must do it on the left. It is time to put aside our differences and our historical divisions to rescue Canada from a government that is out of control and unresponsive to the needs and desires of most Canadians. I don’t see much conversation on these pages about this. Why?

  11. Avatar of Don Girard Don Girard said on

    I would propose some changes to the OAS that I think the LPC should be discussing and that we all have some say in. Those changes may look like:
    • Cut off any OAS payment to anyone with pension earning over $45,000, or gradually reduce it to 0 by $55,000
    • Increase the amount payable to lower incomes on a graduating scale that matches the scale of reduction of the top OAS receivers.
    • Plan this to affect all of the pensioners earning over $55,000 immediately, ie stop or reduce it over 5 years starting now.
    • Plan for a replacement to the OAS for all except those most in need, ie ones who can not save for pensions because of very low lifetime incomes, and replace it with more opportunity for tax free pension plan contributions by everyone say with an affective age of 30 now. CPP or private plans. Allow CPP contributions to be higher then ones income limit allows now.
    • When all pensioners are brought up to above the poverty line, then we can consider saving money to pay down debt, not buy jets.
    My premise is that we all have need of lower wage earners to do the jobs that must be done and that we do not do ourselves and that OAS was designed with the intention of supporting those valued members of society when they retire. It was not designed to give higher income pensioners who had higher lifetime incomes more opportunity to live better, which is like taking from the poor to give to the rich.


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