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Yesterday afternoon, labour activists, seniors, and retirees descended on 21 Tory MP offices across Ontario to protest proposed cuts to Old Age Security benefits. Harper’s comments in Davos, Switzerland last month have inflamed a new movement of workers and pensioners—one that calls itself a movement of “Blue-Grey Power.”

“Prime Minister Harper’s hypocrisy is stunning. He chose to announce his plans to cut Old Age Security in front of the one percenters in Davos when he knows full well that if he were to retire in 2015, he would have a platinum-plated, taxpayer-funded pension of $223,517 a year,” said Sid Ryan, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, from the sit-in taking place in Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s Whitby constituency office.

The protestors are demanding that Conservative MPs abandon plans to push back the OAS eligibility age from 65 to 67, or make any reductions to benefits. Instead, they are calling for the Harper government to introduce modest increases to CPP contributions.

“By cutting Old Age Security, Stephen Harper is attacking the most vulnerable Canadians. The majority of seniors are living on $25,000 a year or less after paying a lifetime of taxes,” said Orville Thacker, president of the Ontario Federation of Union Retirees.

A recent report by Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page set off a heated debated in the House of Commons earlier this week. In the report, Page said Canada’s OAS is not only sustainable, but that Ottawa can afford to increase benefits for seniors.

Flaherty said today that any changes to the OAS will likely come in 2020 or beyond. “This is for 2020, 2025 so that people who are middle age and younger today … can be assured that they will have these social programs properly funded, fiscally responsible, that they’ll be there for them in the future,” he said. “The timing of what we do will involve more than one budget and we will announce some steps forward, but we certainly need to plan ahead and this is not for tomorrow morning.”

Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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Isabelle:

I prefer to be told the truth by the government than be caught off guard. If changes need to be made to keep the OAS sustainable then it is best to plan for it now. Who knows, we may have a rapidly expanding work force through immigration, which could add a variable to the whole situation. However, I wish the government would first re-direct the $1.1 billion they give to the CBC and invest it in the OAS.

Monday, February 13 at 10:53 am | Reply

Bonnie:

Let me see if I have this straight. I am a fourth generation Canadian. I am also a disabled single woman of 64 who worked and paid into many of our social security programs. Now I am told that I may not be getting the OAS until two more years. At the same time, the Harper government has promised this same OAS and the GIS to new immigrants who qualify after only !0 years in Canada. The OAS that will be taken from me will go to them. And by the way, the Harper government has continually raised the number of immigrants allowed into Canada. Stop these payments to immigrants and you have no problem! If they can’t live here without financial support from Canadians, they should not be welcome. Harper is screwing his own people to facilitate the corporate agenda of cheap labor to further exploit our resources. Do not for a minute believe that seniors will take this without a fight! This country belongs to us and our children……not to Harper! We will fight for democracy with everything we have!

Monday, February 13 at 3:21 pm | Reply

Jack:

What is going on with this Government ? They raise the age of OAS to 67 and don’t even address their gold plated pensions. Their own accountants say that the OAS is sustainable the way it is.Our LEADERS should give their heads a shake !

Friday, March 30 at 6:40 pm | Reply

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