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Manitoba will offer CPP improvements: Pallister

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A planned expansion of the Canada Pension Plan has sparked anger from the business community, questions about the vagueness of Manitoba's position and even retirement advice from Premier Brian Pallister.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/06/2016 (2417 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A planned expansion of the Canada Pension Plan has sparked anger from the business community, questions about the vagueness of Manitoba’s position and even retirement advice from Premier Brian Pallister.

Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative government abstained from voting on the federal-provincial deal. It was one of only two provinces, along with Quebec, that did not endorse it.

The agreement would see increases in premiums paid by workers and employers phased in, beginning in 2019. By 2023, premiums would rise by a total of $34 a month, while increased pension payouts would jump by up to $4,300 a year.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Premier Brian Pallister.

Pallister said Manitoba will offer suggestions on how to improve a new Canada Pension Plan agreement forged on Monday by Canada’s finance ministers, but he declined to cite specifics.

 

“We did not attend the meetings (in Vancouver) on the assumption that we were going to come out of those meetings with an iron-clad agreement,” Pallister said Tuesday. “So we’re working on negotiating the best possible agreement that we can for the people of Manitoba and, frankly, for the people of Canada right now.”

Pallister would not elaborate on what those proposed changes might be, although he emphasized the agreement in principle worked out on Monday can still be tweaked.

“There are some details to be ironed out, and I consider them to be very important details,” the Manitoba premier said.

“Getting this right is critical, and legislators should not feel rushed or compelled to agree with a consensus just because it was formed quickly,” Pallister told reporters.

Finance Minister Cameron Friesen said Manitoba made several suggestions at Monday’s federal-provincial meeting, although he didn’t indicate what those were. He said it will bring forward more ideas in the future, but cabinet would discuss them first and Manitobans would be consulted.

Friesen said until a few weeks ago, Manitoba understood that there would be several options up for discussion at the Vancouver meeting leading to a decision on the CPP in December. “Somewhere along the line, decisions were undertaken to accelerate that timeline,” he said.

Both Pallister and Friesen said Manitobans should understand that the CPP is only one means Canadians have to save for their retirement.

“Solely relying on the CPP would be a major mistake that I believe, unfortunately, some Canadians may be in the process of making,” the premier said. “I want to make sure that all Canadians understand that their management of their discretionary incomes and their willingness to set aside today’s spending for tomorrow’s investments in their own future is the key way that they’re going to secure their financial future.”

Business leaders came out swinging against the deal, saying it would drive up company costs and leave workers with less money in their pockets.

Loren Remillard of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce said the Canadian economy is still “precarious” and now is not the time to drive up business costs.

“If Canadians are not saving enough for their retirement, if that’s the issue, our first course of action should not be to look at how government can solve this situation,” he said, while urging that other options for helping Canadians to save for their retirement be put on the table.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business called increased CPP premiums an unwanted tax for its members and a “devastating move for Canadian workers and the economy in general.”

However, Kevin Rebeck, president of the Manitoba Federation of Labour, applauded the move.

 

“I think it’s about time that we have an increase to CPP,” he said. “We have an affordable, reliable pension plan that applies to everyone. It follows them wherever they go…there’s low admin(istration) rates for CPP, and having an increase on this is such a good thing for the citizens of Canada.”

Earlier in the day, the Opposition NDP said Friesen had “embarrassed” Manitobans by refusing to endorse the agreement to enhance the CPP.

“He had a chance to join a national consensus in order to stand with working families and instead he chose to stand with big business and their interests,” finance critic James Allum said. “That’s a great disappointment and a real disservice to Manitobans.”

 

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

 

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

History

Updated on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 1:46 PM CDT: Updates with NDP comments, adds sidebar

Updated on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 5:52 PM CDT: Updates with NDP comments, adds sidebar, writethru

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