I recently received a letter from Diane Finley, human resources and skills development minister, outlining the changes to our Old Age Security (OAS) program that will “benefit” all Canadians. The new generations will have to work until the age of 67 before receiving OAS. It’s hard for the aging population to find new work; nobody wants you, and I don’t see any government ads for the elderly. Are they doing the right thing? Have we had any input through our members of Parliament? But the debate will be limited so that the bill will pass before summer arrives.
When you talk about OAS, you must also talk about our Canada Pension Plan (CPP) system. Under our CPP system there is a segment of our population that has their contribution matched, and some by their private employer or through self-employment. The other segment of our population uses taxpayers’ money for any employer contributions. The government employs a lot of people and they also fund a lot of institutions such as hospitals, universities and research companies that employ a lot of people. All Canadians fund the employer’s CPP contribution for these people. Most of them have additional retirement plans, be it a private plan, RRSP plan and all matching contributions are funded with taxpayer’s money.
With all these government employees and funded institutions, a lot — and I mean a lot — of taxpayers’ money is used for funding. More and more we see stories in our newspapers and on television programs about the abuse of taxpayers’ money. If the government ceased funding these plans there would probably be enough money to get this country out of debt in a few years. The existing plans could be rolled over in our current CPP system and provide a healthy retirement income for those people. Money saved could then be used to match the employer’s contribution in the private sector and maybe enhance that program. And, with still more money left over there would be no need to change the OAS system and the pension disbursement could probably be augmented. There is no need to work past 65.
The government has an endless pot of cash and they must start being responsible stewards of Canadians’ money. While we continue to hear of the waste and abuse of taxpayers’ money, some Canadians will have to work till the ripe old age of 67. Now before the summer arrives, the program they figure will better us all will be rammed down our throats.