Changes to Old Age Security should have been election issue, says MP Carol Hughes

The Recorder

OTTAWA—Canadians planning to retire at 65 with a little help from public pension plans are staring at a curve-ball thrown by the government, as the federal Tories are set to change the eligibility rules for Old Age Security (OAS), according to Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes.

New Democrats are criticizing the trial balloon floated by Prime Minister Stephen Harper at meetings on the economy in Davos, Switzerland last week. The NDP views the proposal to raise the age for eligibility as another assault on the vulnerable in society that were left out of the Conservative platform in the federal election last spring.

“It is easy to understand why the prime minister had to go offshore to make his latest statement in the Conservative war on pensions,” said Ms. Hughes. “I can guarantee he wouldn’t have received a good reception for his message in places like Elliot Lake, Hearst, Manitouwadge or anywhere in Canada.”

For those who plan to retire with a little help from OAS this news will be shocking, said Ms. Hughes. It puts all economic planning on hold as these people wait to see when and how the government’s bomb will drop.

“If the prime minister is looking to save money, he should cast his gaze at the billions in corporate tax giveaways that his government so carelessly hands out, despite the evidence that shows they do nothing to create jobs in Canada,” said Ms. Hughes. She vowed that New Democrats would continue to work with seniors and the organizations that represent them to fight these mean-spirited changes.

“We want to strengthen pensions, not weaken them,” concluded Ms. Hughes.