CPP payments inadequate
With respect to your Dec. 18 editorial Back to the table on pensions and related articles, more Canadians need to alert their politicians to the fact that current CPP payouts are already inadequate and will become woefully so in the next few decades.
At present, the maximum CPP pension is about $12,000 a year and the average is far below that at about $7,200 a year. This is a small fraction of the amount older people need to live decently. It will be increasingly inadequate as time goes by without substantial increases.
By way of comparison, Canada's maximum CPP pension is about a third that provided in Germany, Spain and Sweden, and about half the maximum in France and the U.S. The U.S. figure may surprise many people.
Certainly an enhanced pension requires more substantial contributions by employees and employers, but it avoids exorbitant management fees, reduces the lost taxes of current incentives to contribute to private pension plans, and is an effective way to eventually put more money in the hands of retired consumers, which benefits businesses and governments through increased revenues.
Politicians, especially radical Conservatives with their penchant for minimizing government no matter what the cost to ordinary Canadians, are unlikely to take the necessary actions unless provoked by citizens (i.e., voters). It therefore falls to us to secure a better retirement for today's younger workers, many of whom receive limited pensions through work.
In their Dec. 16 column, Socking it away as Canada ages, Fraser Institute associates Charles Lammam and Sean Speer get it wrong yet again. If you are like most Canadians without a workplace pension, you are peering over the edge of a retirement income crisis.
We know that Canadians are not saving enough for retirement, and it's hard to survive if you don't have a business to sell or investments from which to collect. There is no better time to expand the Canada Pension Plan and ensure a higher quality of life for future retirees.
Jim Flaherty will not entertain discussion about improving the Canada Pension Plan for one reason: the Conservatives are entrenched in their devotion to Reaganomics.
They believe that the first to the bottom wins. No tax. No social benefits. Every person for themselves. The Conservatives (still largely an old boys' club with lots of money) have no concern that in 25 years, thousands of seniors without a pension will be living in poverty.
A failure to report
The recent city budget contains for the first time grant funding for Save Our Seine, an important conservation group in southeast Winnipeg. This $30,000 will allow SOS to continue to employ a part-time executive director to perform advocacy work for the Seine.
In August the Free Press published a large photo-spread celebrating the Seine and praising the work of SOS. It is unfortunate that the Free Press did not consider it newsworthy that council has now recognized the importance of SOS and provided stable funding, fulfilling one of my election promises.
Coun. Brian Mayes
St. Vital ward
A dubious practice
I enjoyed reading about the practitioners of naturopathy trying to get expanded powers, including the ordering of tests and the ability to prescribe drugs (Naturopaths and march of pseudoscience, Dec. 18).
Another form of sometimes dubious practice is already covered by the health insurance plans, offering supplemental coverage to employees of many large companies, namely chiropractic, which makes some claims that are not backed by science.
It disturbs me that there seems to be a direct relationship between ever growing scientific knowledge and the popularity of pseudoscience.
Re: Woman evades jail for bilking feds on pension (Dec. 18). It amazes me that a copy of the woman's death certificate would not have been sent to the appropriate federal government department.
This makes me think that if she had a Canadian passport, could someone be illegally using it? And how many other pension cheques are being sent out to people who are no longer living? Is this just one incident that fell through the cracks?
Bad journalism habit
I am grateful to Dr. Dhali Dhaliwal (Cancer-fighter battles for smokers, Dec. 19). Journalists could help by stopping to use the clichéd term "kick the habit."
Smoking is not just a habit. We now know smokers consume addictive ingredients every time they light up.
All levels of governments should heed Dhaliwal's advice about using of tax dollars to support cessation programs.
A sin against their people
Calling for pressure from the global community to force change from the Canadian government in its relationship with the country's aboriginal population, as Don Marks suggests in his Dec. 14 column, First Nations awaiting anti-apartheid's dividend, is a waste of time. Billions of people earning less than $500 a year would have little interest in our First Nations problems.
It is First Nations leaders who are to blame for the plight of their people. Decades of talks for baby steps of progress is a sin against their people.
If I were a leader, my first comment to Stephen Harper and his government would be, "When you finally stand before your maker, ask for mercy and not justice." As a keeper of my brother, that is the least I owe him. The plight of First Nations is a moral issue and should be seen by everyone in that way. Marks was right in implying that belief.
I prefer the government to protect my honour before it protects my tax dollars.