CAW President Welcomes Liberal Election Commitment to Expand the CPP

March 31, 2011, 9:30 AM EST


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Ken Lewenza, President of the Canadian Auto Workers, today welcomed the Liberal Party's election commitment to expand the Canada Pension Plan.

 "Securing the future income security of our seniors is one of the most important economic and social priorities facing this country," Lewenza said, "and there is no better way to do that than by expanding the CPP."

 "It's a guaranteed inflation-indexed benefit, and it requires employers to pay half of the premiums.  It's far more fair and cost-efficient than private-sector RRSPs."

Lewenza called on all parties in the campaign to endorse the expansion of the CPP, and then to begin work immediately following the election to negotiate the details with the provinces. The NDP is already on record as supporting the idea.

 Lewenza critiqued the outgoing Harper Conservative government for failing to address the looming pension crisis of Canadians.

 "Initially, the Harper government indicated it would work with the provinces to expand the CPP," Lewenza recalled.  "But squeezed by financial industry lobbyists, they suddenly dropped the idea like a hot potato, without ever giving an explanation to Canadians."

 Lewenza warned that a Conservative majority government would likely "deep-six" the idea of CPP expansion for a generation to come.

 The Conservative plan for a pooled RRSP system is no answer to the pension challenges facing Canadians, he added.  "Private-sector money managers would be the major beneficiaries of Pooled Registered Pension Plans.  This idea is fundamentally equivalent to the existing RRSP system, which has failed miserably to provide adequate or secure pensions," Lewenza said.

 Lewenza also commended the Liberals for committing to a larger expansion in the Guaranteed Income Supplement, and for their "constructive" proposals for dealing with the pension plans of companies facing bankruptcy.

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