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June

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    MPlib
    Liberal Caucus gathering for Justin Trudeau's "Fair+Open Government" announcements at 11am ET, livestream on liberal.ca
    Jun 16, 2015 7:45 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Lots of great speculation today about Justin Trudeau's open government + democratic renewal plan. It's coming at 11am ET on liberal.ca
    Jun 16, 2015 5:32 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Both the Cons and the NDP in Question Period talk hypothetically about balanced budgets. Libs actually delivered a decade of them. On healthcare, Cons claim credit for 6% escalating transfers to Provinces. But all those funds were in the 2004/05 Liberal budgets. On the economy, Liberals point out that the Harper government has run a $10B trade deficit so far this year, worst ever+no plan to do better.
    Jun 15, 2015 12:22 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    TIME TO REJUVENATE A DEBILITATED PARLIAMENT Within a week or so, this current 41st Parliament of Canada will adjourn for the final time. Sometime during the summer, the House of Commons will be "dissolved" for a national election on October 19th. I hope Canadians will make the renovation and renewal of how we govern ourselves a prime election issue! When Justin Trudeau won the Liberal leadership two years ago, more open, rejuvenated governance for Canada was a key part of his platform. And despite the disadvantages of being the "third party" in the House of Commons, he has still managed to move the yardsticks. His first step was to require all his MPs to pro-actively disclose all their travel and hospitality expenses. The information began to be posted quarterly on the Internet for anyone to scrutinize. Once the Liberal Caucus set this example, all other MPs followed suit and such regular disclosure is now in the rules of the House of Commons. Secondly, Mr. Trudeau presented a Motion and a Private Member's Bill to upgrade transparency in all government operations. For example, he wants the House of Commons' secretive management board (the "Board of Internal Economy", as it is called) to be made open to the public. Its deliberations on how the House of Commons is administered and how Parliamentary money is spent should not be kept behind closed doors. More broadly, across the whole of government, Mr. Trudeau wants much greater public access to all information and he wants the data to be available in accessible electronic formats. He would also give the Information Commissioner the authority to issue binding disclosure orders to all government departments and agencies. Letting the sunshine in would have a positive effect. Knowledge is power. Broad-based access to information is fundamental to democracy. It is the right of the governed to have as much knowledge and information as those who govern them. That's why we also need a competent, reliable national census. We need scientists and researchers who are unmuzzled and encouraged to discuss their work. We need the right to dissent, debate and disagree, free from intimidation or reprisals. In short, Canadians need to have all the facts, and we need to make decisions based on hard evidence, not guess-work, prejudice or ideology. Mr. Trudeau's third initiative was about the Senate. Given all the recent controversy, some Canadians are calling for Senate abolition. But the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled unequivocally that that would take unanimous provincial consent for a full-fledged constitutional amendment. At the very least, opening such a debate would embroil the country in a decade of constitutional turmoil, while other issues - the economy, jobs, the environment, healthcare - get pushed off the agenda. So what can be done without going down that rabbit-hole? Mr. Trudeau has committed himself to a new, transparent, objective process for selecting independent people of the highest quality and integrity to serve in the Canadian Senate - avoiding partisanship and patronage and thus making the Senate the genuine independent review body envisaged by Sir John A. Macdonald. And to show he is serious, Mr. Trudeau required every sitting Senator appointed by a Liberal Prime Minister to withdraw from the Liberal Caucus and serve out their terms as full independents. We have a strong example, in the Mike Duffy scandal, about why this is important. Part of that scandal is Mr. Duffy's obnoxious spending, but equally serious are the internal machinations in the Prime Minister's Office to try to cover-up and whitewash the whole affair. If Senators were truly independent - and not under the political thumb of the PMO - it would be far less likely that the Prime Minister's staff would be cutting $90,000 cheques and trying to meddle with a forensic audit. So on the disclosure of MPs' expenses, greater government transparency and Senate reform - Justin Trudeau has led the way in the current Parliament more than anyone else. For the future, he will build on these initial steps to accelerate the process of transformative change. The Parliament of Canada must earn the public's respect every day. It must be restored as a meaningful institution where the debates and votes really matter, where genuine responsibility is shouldered and accounted for, and where MPs are effective voices for their constituencies in Ottawa, not merely mouthpieces for Ottawa back home in their constituencies.
    Jun 15, 2015 7:01 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Pride Week launch at the Cornwall Centre in Regina
    Jun 14, 2015 1:57 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Happy to spend some time with great folks in Kronau Sk celebrating their Heritage Day - cemetery founded in 1890s
    Jun 14, 2015 12:04 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    A big thank you to all these sponsors who loyally support Regina's JDRF Walk every year - improving lives for kids
    Jun 14, 2015 11:32 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    "Squeeze of Scotch" warms up the crowd gathering for JDRF Walk in Regina this am - fighting Juvenile Diabetes!
    Jun 14, 2015 11:31 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Glad to be with Scott Brison last night in Halifax for a big, boisterous and very useful meeting of the Laurier Club!
    Jun 13, 2015 4:19 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In Question Period, HarperCons contradict their own former Finance Minister Flaherty who said CPP should be enhanced on a fully-funded basis. HarperCons also contradict their current Finance Minister Oliver who points out that CPP premiums are NOT payroll taxes. The Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) says "voluntary has failed", need comprehensive expansion of CPP - at least 60% of Canadians agree.
    Jun 11, 2015 11:44 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In Question Period, I pointed out that the late Jim Flaherty said CPP was "central" to Canada's retirement income system + should be expanded. Finance Minister Oliver has also indicated that CPP premiums are NOT payroll taxes + CPP investments get impressive returns. So here's the key question - why not work with the Provinces and a strong majority of Canadians to enhance a comprehensive CPP?
    Jun 10, 2015 11:50 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    In Question Period today about the Canada Pension Plan, the Conservatives tell everything but the truth.
    Jun 09, 2015 4:00 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In Question Period, HarperCons force Finance Minister Oliver to stay in his seat + not answer direct questions abt what he personally said about CPP. Oliver correctly confirmed last week that CPP premiums are NOT payroll taxes. They go solely to long-term personal security, not govt coffers. This govt should heed late Jim Flaherty's advice + work with Provinces on "a modest, phased-in, fully funded expansion of the CPP."
    Jun 09, 2015 11:37 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    GOOD TO HEAR OLIVER CONTRADICT HARPER ON CPP The Canada Pension Plan got support last Friday from an unlikely source - Conservative Finance Minister, Joe Oliver. In praising the CPP, Mr. Oliver contradicted two decades of abuse heaped on the plan by Stephen Harper. Now granted, Mr. Oliver did not INTEND to be supportive. Instead, he was trying to attack the policies of the Liberal Party. But his rant fell flat because the policies he was attacking were NOT Liberal policies. He just made them up, battling figments of his own imagination. So, all that was left were the nice things he said about the CPP. For example, Mr. Oliver said this: "The CPP Investment Board has posted impressive returns. Because of its focus on protecting Canadians' retirement savings, the Office of the Chief Actuary projects 75 years of sustainability." That's quite a compliment. And all that strength and success are a direct result of the essential restructuring of the Canada Pension Plan which took place in the late 1990's under the leadership of then-Finance Minister Paul Martin, in partnership with the Provinces. The vision and courage they mustered to save and bolster the CPP have paid huge dividends. But what was Stephen Harper saying back then? Here's a sample: "Take all the federal economic boondoggles that have ever happened and multiply them 100-fold, and you've got the CPP Investment Board." Mr. Harper was spectacularly wrong, but he never lets the facts stand in the way of prejudice or ideology. He has been relentless in trying to kill the Canada Pension Plan. In the 1990's, he called for it to be scrapped, in favour of private RRSPs. Failing that, in his infamous "firewalls" letter in 2001, he urged Alberta to withdraw from it. More recently, when the late Jim Flaherty proposed "a modest, phased-in and fully funded enhancement" of the CPP because there is "strong support for the Canada Pension Plan and the central role it plays in our government-supported retirement income system", Mr. Harper cut him off at the knees. To Mr. Harper any such "enhancement" is just a payroll tax. He refuses to recognize any value in comprehensively increasing the investment that Canadians make, through the CPP, in their own personal retirement security. But then, along comes Joe Oliver. Last Friday, he said: "Remember who that money (in the CPP) belongs to - not government, but pensioners and all those who will rely on the CPP in the years to come." So it's NOT a payroll tax. It cannot be, because the money does NOT go into government coffers. It's an investment. As Mr. Oliver said, it always "belongs" to the individuals who pay their premiums and who rely on the "impressive returns" of the CPPIB to make sure their defined benefits are secure for their retirement. Why is Mr. Harper so bent on falsely portraying CPP premiums as "payroll taxes"? Maybe it's to obscure the fact that he himself is the master of escalating payroll taxes. In 2011, he began a massive hike in Employment Insurance rates. They went up by more than $600-million that year, and then by another $600-million the next year, and then by another $600-million the year after that. And then, in 2014, he froze those rates at that unnecessarily high level until 2017. That means, not including any labour force or wage growth, Mr. Harper has raked in an incremental $10-billion in higher EI rates since 2011. The Parliamentary Budget Officers says that's at least $5-billion too much. So talk about payroll taxes - Mr. Harper's CPP complaints ring hollow and hypocritical.
    Jun 08, 2015 5:50 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Just a few of the graves of war veterans in Regina Cemetery, marked with flags today on this Decoration Day
    Jun 07, 2015 12:20 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Royal Cdn Legion Colour Party at the War Memorial in Regina Cemetery paying tribute to fallen comrades on "Decoration Day"
    Jun 07, 2015 12:19 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    The sign in front to St Paul's Anglican Cathedral in Regina - to remember and to seek a proper inquiry.
    Jun 07, 2015 9:11 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Last stop last night at Regina's MOSAIC 2015 was the Hellenic Greek pavilion - always a big draw, great food, music + dance
    Jun 07, 2015 7:56 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Stunning painted egg mosaics on display at Kyiv Ukrainian pavilion at Regina's MOSAIC 2015
    Jun 07, 2015 6:09 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    The national dance of the Philippines - always a crowd pleaser at Regina's MOSAIC 2015
    Jun 07, 2015 6:08 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Wonderful welcome at the India pavilion, always a favourite, at Regina's MOSAIC 2015
    Jun 07, 2015 6:08 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Standing room only at the Italian pavilion tonight at Regina's MOSAIC 2015 - another great show!
    Jun 06, 2015 5:46 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    The amazingly talented live orchestra at the Poltava pavilion - our first stop on this last night of Regina's MOSAIC festival 2015
    Jun 06, 2015 4:58 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Glad to be part of Shoppers Run for Women's Mental Health - proceeds to Family Services Regina. Great turnout. Lots of sun!
    Jun 06, 2015 7:40 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    With Luke, the Youth Ambassador at the Hungarian pavilion at RMC - Mosaic
    Jun 06, 2015 5:46 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Little Polish dancers - just like little Johnny Findura years ago - all part of RMC - Mosaic
    Jun 06, 2015 5:45 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Big stage show at the Caribbean pavilion. Big crowds. Line-up to get in. RMC - Mosaic
    Jun 06, 2015 5:44 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Lots of colour, sights, sound, food + dance at the Punjab pavilion - RMC - Mosaic
    Jun 06, 2015 5:43 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Always a full house at the Chinese pavilion at Regina's MOSAIC 2015 festival. Great food + entertainment.
    Jun 05, 2015 6:46 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    A swirl of skill and colour as dancers perform at Regina's MOSAIC's First Nations pavilion at FN University of Canada
    Jun 05, 2015 5:29 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Artwork about missing + murdered indigenous women #MMIW on display at First Nations pavilion - part of Regina's MOSAIC, 2015
    Jun 05, 2015 5:20 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Pipes on display at the Chilean pavilion on our first night at Regina's MOSAIC festival for 2015
    Jun 05, 2015 4:54 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    FN Elder, Rez School survivor and now Dr. Ann Callahan - another honourary degree recipient at this year's UofR Convocation
    Jun 05, 2015 5:10 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Dr Don Black, another honourary degree recipient this week from the University of Regina. A terrific business + community leader!
    Jun 04, 2015 7:01 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Congrats to Kevin Tell + Trevor Boquist as they join JA Business Hall of Fame + best wishes to all student achievers being recognized!
    Jun 04, 2015 5:19 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Largest convocation ever this year at the University of Regina. Congratulations to all the graduates and good luck in the future!
    Jun 04, 2015 3:48 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Ambassador Kevin Vickers signs the roll as honourary doctorate recipient of the University of Regina. Trained here at RCMP Depot. Congrats!
    Jun 04, 2015 1:29 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Happy to celebrate with the University of Regina today - honourary degree for Ambassador Kevin Vickers
    Jun 04, 2015 12:57 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Travelling home today for UofR Convocation - lots of Aboriginal people on-board, returning from Truth+Reconciliation events. Their mood is hopeful. TRC events were uplifting - a new beginning. It's essential now to turn that hope into concrete action. As TRC Chair Justice Sinclair said, the Comn's work has shown us all the top of the mountain. It's now up to us to do the climbing.
    Jun 04, 2015 7:40 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    It's important to pin down the Harper government on what, if anything, it will actually do in response to the Truth + Reconciliation Commission
    Jun 03, 2015 11:57 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    In the latest economic growth projections from OECD, only US + Greece had bigger growth downgrades than did Canada. Talk about "leading the pack"? Growth projections for Canada are below the OECD average - 24 of the 34 OECD countries will do better. Also today, Harper government has recorded the 2 worst monthly trade deficits in history - more evidence of Mr Harper's no-growth plan.
    Jun 03, 2015 11:03 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    It was barely a week ago that Finance Minister Oliver was giving clownish advice to Europeans about how to boost economic growth by firing people. Back home, not only has Canada suffered full a full quarter of economic shrinkage; for second time in 6 months, the OECD has slashed Canadian growth projections. Latest forecasts for full 2015 put Canadian growth prospects is the same range as the Eurozone - this is Mr Harper's "no growth" plan.
    Jun 03, 2015 10:02 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    In QP, Justin Trudeau asks Stephen Harper directly if he'll accept the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Mr Harper won't say. Both Justice Sinclair + National Chief Bellegarde say the government's Residential Schools apology has not been followed-up with meaningful action. Harper government won't budge on their refusal to call a National Inquiry into 1200 Missing + Murdered Indigenous Women.
    Jun 02, 2015 11:49 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Justin Trudeau reacts quickly to embrace the work and advice of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission http://bit.ly/1dJDyGS
    Jun 02, 2015 10:52 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Ralph Goodale, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, spoke about how greater economic growth is what's needed to lift the well-being of Canada's middle-class and all those working so hard to join it at Canada 2020: bit.ly/1Rl10sl Mr. Goodale will be the guest speaker at our AGM on June 13th!
    Jun 02, 2015 9:15 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Upon release of Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report, Justice Sinclair describes Residential Schools as "cultural genocide", just as the Supreme Court of Canada's Chief Justice said last week. Justice Sinclair also calls for a renewed Royal Proclamation, an annual report on reconciliation + a National Inquiry on #MMIW. Chair Justice Sinclair delivers a powerful statement bringing the TRC to a passionate conclusion with a roadmap to the future.
    Jun 02, 2015 8:38 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Chair Justice Murray Sinclair now releasing massive final report of Truth + Reconciliation Commission on Residential Schools
    Jun 02, 2015 8:09 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    No more gimmicks, the federal government must get serious about working with the provinces to strengthen the Canada Pension Plan http://www.ipolitics.ca/2015/06/02/the-harper-governments-do-nothing-approach-to-the-retirement-crisis/
    Jun 02, 2015 8:01 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Liberals hit hard in Question Period on the Harper government's "no growth" economy - GDP figures show shrinking economy in Q1 of 2015. Since Joe Oliver thinks greater economic growth comes from shedding jobs, how many lost jobs are required before growth begins? Liberals also call for constructive cooperation with all provincial governments on retirement income security - how best to upgrade CPP for all Canadians.
    Jun 01, 2015 11:52 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    RETIREMENT INSECURITY IS A BIG MIDDLE-CLASS WORRY Last week ended with the bad news that Canada's economy not only stalled through the whole First Quarter of this calendar year, it actually shrank -- in each of January, February and March, as well as in the previous months of November and August. Insecurity and uncertainty are real. Middle-class Canadians worry about sluggish incomes, the high cost of living, care-giving, learning and skills, their heavy household debts, diminishing employment prospects for themselves and their kids, and the increasing possibility that the younger generation may not be able to do as well as their parents did. Most Canadians are also troubled about not having enough to live on when they retire. Will they even be able to retire at all? Three-quarters of those working in the private sector do not have an employer-sponsored pension plan. The typical 35-year-old today is able to save only about half of what their parents did at that age. For those in their 50's, two-thirds have less than $100,000 set aside to look after themselves. One-third have no retirement savings at all. All this adds up to a retirement income crisis. And it's coming at us fast. It warrants serious attention, not just bumper-sticker slogans and other gimmicks from a government that cannot seem to muster the wherewithal to tackle a real problem in a serious way. Make no mistake, this is not just a crisis in social policy. It's a major economic problem too. If we fail to come to grips with it, Canadians will pay dearly in years to come with soaring social safety-net costs and sharply reduced consumer spending power. Since 2006, the Harper government's approach to retirement security issues has missed the mark. They "resolved the controversy" about Income Trusts by killing those investment tools altogether -- thus shrinking the savings accounts of about two million Canadians by some $25-billion. They are postponing the eligibility age for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement. That will slash the retirement incomes of the most vulnerable low-income seniors by $32,000. The Conservatives are counting on a plethora of voluntary savings options to ride to the rescue. But most of them are designed as tax avoidance tools for "high wealth households" and none of them have made an appreciable difference in easing the retirement insecurity crisis. Most seriously, Stephen Harper has blocked each and every effort to work with provincial government partners on a comprehensive expansion of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). Indeed, he has long argued for the complete elimination of the plan. The CPP is marking its 50th anniversary this year. Its creation was a great achievement for Lester Pearson's government in 1965. But with changing demographics, by the 1990's many people were questioning whether it could survive. Then-Finance Minister Paul Martin mustered the federal-provincial consensus and will-power to make the necessary changes (including CPP premium increases) to save and bolster the plan. It's now actuarially sound and secure for at least the next 75 years. Premiums paid into the CPP are not a tax. They don't go into government coffers. They're an independently managed investment in long term personal security. And here's another key point -- all through that period when CPP premiums were last increased, private sector job creation remained robust. There was no discernible negative effect. The CPP is a defined-benefit pension plan. With strong management and an exceptional return-on-investment, it ranks with the best in the world. But its benefits are still too low. At maximum it pays out only about $1,000 a month. The average CPP monthly benefit is just under $640. That's simply not enough. The Government of Canada needs to respond on an urgent basis to the expressed will of provincial governments to find the best possible ways to upgrade the CPP in a comprehensive manner for all Canadians. With a retirement income crisis at hand, Canadians expect their governments to work constructively together on real solutions.
    Jun 01, 2015 11:41 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana

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Ralph Goodale

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