In Toronto on Sept. 14, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau outlined his retirement security plan that includes keeping the retirement age at 65 and enhancing the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) within three months in office, according to the Liberal Party’s website.
Millie Babaian, 82, said she relies on CPP checks and is looking forward to the possible changes.
“I get about $1,200 a month,” said the St. Boniface voter. “The CPP is well managed, and those think-tank people who think it shouldn’t be there are just crazy. I didn’t save for retirement, so if they want to increase the contributions a bit, I’d fight for that.”
But Danika Bock, co-owner of Tiny Feast, might not.
“It’s something we would be thinking about [at this age], but as small business owners, it’s usually the last thing on the list,” she said.
The 27-year-old Winnipeg Centre voter said some of her friends with children are starting to put away money, but she currently doesn’t have any other pension plan than CPP.
The three parties with the most seats in Parliament (Conservatives with 159, New Democratic Party with 94 and Liberals with 36) have each included retirement security in their election platforms.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is maintaining his 2012 decision to bump the retirement age from 65 to 67. With no changes to the CPP described in his platform, the Prime Minister is focusing on the Conservative’s increased Tax Free Savings Account limit of $10,000 per year as a way for Canadians to save, according to an Aug. 13 Conservative media release.
The NDP is promising Leader Tom Mulcair “will cancel the Conservative’s decision to raise the retirement age — bringing it back down to 65. And he’ll work tirelessly to strengthen public pensions while protecting workplace pensions,” according to the party’s website.
The New Democrats are pledging to create middle class jobs by lowering small business taxes from 11 to nine per cent, keep childcare affordable by capping fees at no more $15 a day and protect the environment by keeping polluting industries responsible for clean up and strengthening protection laws for lakes and rivers.
The NDP also wants to shift around funds to fix roads, bridges and transit, as well as stop cuts to health care while improving primary care.
Although retirement security plans from the NDP and Liberal parties are similar, chances of a coalition government are not looking great.
During CBC’s The Interviews, Peter Mansbridge asked Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, Tom Mulcair and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May how parties should win power in the House of Commons. All but May, who said she was open to coalition if Conservatives maintain a majority government, said the party with the most seats should rule.
Creating a coalition in government means forming an alliance between different parties, a tactic used to gain more power in the House of Commons when no single party has achieved the majority of seats, according to The Canadian Encyclopedia.
Because federal elections must happen every four years, and the election date has been set as Oct. 19, 2015 for quite some time, Canada has been in election mode since Prime Minister Harper dropped the writs on Aug. 2. This election, according to Parliament minutes from May 7, will cost about $357 million, while the Canadian Taxpayer Federation estimates the cost will be closer to $500 million.
This is one in a series of federal election campaign stories completed by Journalism Major students in Red River College’s Creative Communications program. Click here to read more of their articles.