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CPP hike needed

Why won't the Conservatives just do the right thing and allow the CPP rates and premiums to rise (CPP hike a better fix for retirees, Editorial, April 28)?

Everybody knows this is the smartest, safest way to ensure all Canadians have an income in retirement, yet the government keeps coming up with odd plans and schemes to try to get around it.

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Its latest brainchild is still far short of what is required, and seems designed more to punish people who already have a workplace pension rather than improve the collective lot of Canada's seniors.

The CPP is a well-managed, well-run pension plan that is the envy of the world. Its only fault is that the payouts and premiums have not risen to meet the costs of today.

The CPP is part of the social contract between workers and employers in this country that has served us well. It's time to modernize it and bring up the rates.




Senate decision no surprise

Re: Did Harper lose, or is it a win in disguise? (April 26). It seems obvious Stephen Harper knew from the outset what the Supreme Court would say: follow the constitution. His feigned disappointment is a political strategy.

After appointing dozens of senators -- which he didn't have to do -- Harper will use the court's decision to justify his failure to act to abolish the Senate. He went to the Supreme Court because he has steadfastly refused to engage our provincial premiers in substantial discussions about the Senate -- or anything else.

Harper has not held a provincial first ministers meeting since January 2009. In the last five years, he has had no inclination to discuss important issues such as the economy, aboriginal issues, pipelines or anything else with our provincial leaders.

He seems to spend an inordinate amount of time and money travelling the world, entourage in tow, but won't sit down with our premiers to discuss saving Canadian taxpayers $100 million a year by abolishing the Senate.

We probably won't know whether Stephen Harper won or lost politically until after the next election, but we can say with certainty that Canadian taxpayers will continue to be the losers.




Every Grade 9 student in Manitoba who studies our federal government knows that it takes at least seven out of 10 provinces, representing 50 per cent of the population, to reform the Senate.

But Stephen Harper must have been sick that day, because he wasted precious Supreme Court time to find out something we all knew.

It's surprising that the "law and order" party of this land does not know the laws that govern it.

How many times do they have to be shut down by the Supreme Court to figure it out? This is highly embarrassing.




Unsurprisingly, the Supreme Court of Canada has confirmed that Parliament cannot unilaterally reform the Senate.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he is disappointed, and that reform is now impossible.

In fact, he is fully empowered to reform the Senate unilaterally over time.

He can begin immediately by appointing outstanding and meritorious Canadians, rather than dispensing political favours to cronies, and can follow Justin Trudeau's lead in freeing Conservative senators from their formal party caucus affiliation.

In this way, the nation might one day be able to take pride in an independent institution of sober second thought and meaningful regional representation that contributes to good government.




Student grants the solution

Andrew Moreau's piece regarding the downside of tax credits for post-secondary graduates only scratches the surface regarding the systematic inequalities of our post-secondary system (A fairer way to lift student debt, April 28).

As he says, the rebate rewards both those who need it and those who don't, like himself. A better system would be to provide up-front grants and bursaries for those who need them to enter the post-secondary system, not tax rebates to help indebted students pay off their loans after the fact.

A truly equitable system would work to both increase access to post-secondary education to low-income students as well as alleviate potential debt in later years. By doing this, we can ensure university is accessible, as well as working to make sure all graduates can contribute to our province.

Breaking down the barriers to entering post-secondary education, instead of tax credits after the fact, is the best policy moving forward.




Good job on garbage pickup

I've read several complaints about Emterra in regards to garbage pickup, and have to say I feel they have done a great job (Why doesn't waste collector speak out? It can't, April 26).

Nine times out of 10, our garbage and recycling carts are put back, lids closed. Even with the terrible shape our back lane has been in this winter, they have managed to perform their duties well.




Ban private political funding

Janice Isopp has misinterpreted my letter to believe I was against any tax funding political parties (Fair electoral financing key, Letters, April 28).

Not only do I fully support a voter subsidy, but my letter published in the Free Press on November 28, 2011, recommends that all private political donations be banned and that all political parties be funded only by an enhanced subsidy, or what I called a democracy fee.

Banning all private political donations eliminates all the corruption in government that money can buy, and the subsidy does, in fact, suit Brian Pallister's principled stance of not taking money from non-supporters.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 29, 2014 A8


Updated on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 6:37 AM CDT: adds links

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