Friday, March 30, 2012

65 is old enough!

Stephen Harper's Conservative government has decreed, without public consultation (indeed, against the public outcry when he floated his trial balloon in Davos), that the age of eligibility for Old Age Security (and Guaranteed Income Supplement) will be raised from 65 to 67.

Independent sources outside the Conservative party, including the Parliamentary Budget Officer, agree that Old Age Security is a sustainable program with an eligibility age of 65.

If you oppose raising retirement age to 67, change your Facebook profile image to the "65" image.  Let it be a symbol that tells Stephen Harper that in the next election, you'll be voting for the party that promises to restore your retirement security.

If you're less than 54 years old today, why should you have to work 2 years longer than the older generation?

If you're not one of the privileged, the gap in Canada between the haves and have-nots just grew by 2 years of retirement freedom.

If you don't have a workplace pension (like most Canadians), if you're struggling to get by as it is, then Old Age Security is not a luxury.  It is one of the pillars of retirement security that Canadians rely upon.

For most Canadians, Old Age Security isn't a bonus cash cushion that kicks in ten years after they've retired.  It's the cash cushion that allows them to retire.  For many older Canadians that have had to retire earlier due to health problems, Old Age Security and its accompanying Guaranteed Income Supplement for those with low incomes is what lifts many seniors (barely) out of poverty.

Ignore the seniors who complain about OAS "clawback".  That's a red herring.  OAS repayment only begins when a retiree has a net income in excess of $66,000.  I'll probably never have an income that high in my working life, let alone my retirement!  OAS is not meant for these people.  It's meant for the average Canadian that's simply struggling to get by.  And that, of course, goes to the heart of why the Conservatives are seeking to raise the age of eligibility.  They don't believe in helping those who have the least.  They believe in consolidating wealth at the top.

In contrast, other parties advocate raising OAS and GIS benefits to help those most in need, and to gradually double Canada Pension Plan benefits.

If you don't want to work another two years, if you don't want your children and grand-children to have to work another two years, then support the "65" program.  Above all, make sure you VOTE for retirement security.  Young people have a historically low voter turnout, which is likely why the Conservatives think they can get away with taking away two years of our retirement!

If you don't vote, your voice carries no weight with politicians!

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