Conservative government reforms public sector pensions in Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (evil!)

From the National Post.


Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says planned changes to the pension plan for members of Parliament won’t take effect until after the next election, noting it would not be fair to change the rules during the current term.

[…]The object, the finance minister says, is for members of parliament and public servants to contribute 50% of the cost of their pensions.

Treasury Board President Tony Clement says changes to the MP pension plan will see them paying almost four times more in contributions.

He says MP contributions will jump to about $39,000 from the present level of about $11,000 and the bill would delay retirement age for a full pension to 65 from the present 55.

The changes, for a while at least, will create a two-tier system — with some existing MPs still being able to collect pension benefits at age 55. After the next election, all new MPs who qualify for the plan will have to wait until they are 65 before getting full pension benefits.

It was also expected that the bill would include cost-saving measures to change the federal employee pension plan so that new workers who join the public service starting in 2013 will see the normal age of their retirement raised to 65 from 60.

Clement says the changes will move public service and MP pension contributions to a 50-50 split, similar to private sector plans.

He says the changes will save taxpayers $2.6-billion over five years.

The bill passed the House of Commons today, and is on its way to the Conservative-controlled Senate. Harper will sign it, and then drink a chalice brim-full with the tears of his pathetic socialist enemies, as is his custom since gaining the majority in 2011.

Also, Conservative Party MP Pierre Poilievre (Nepean-Carleton = evil!) has been pushing the right of workers not to have to join a union, nor to have to pay union dues against their will:

While chieftains at the government’s largest union celebrated a separatist victory in Quebec on Wednesday, a Conservative MP said he will push for legislation to allow workers to opt out of paying dues.

Ottawa MP Pierre Poilievre says by supporting the Parti Quebecois and Quebec Solidaire and other activities, the NDP-friendly Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) is not acting in the interests of the majority of its 172,000 members.

Poilievre’s riding is home to thousands of government workers – some of whom have expressed their disbelief to him over the use of dues to fund political and militant activity, including supporting student protesters in Montreal.

He says he will advocate for passage of a private member’s bill in Parliament that would force unions to open their books to learn how dues are spent.

And while he is a parliamentary secretary and can’t introduce private bills, he will encourage and help others draft legislation that would allow union members the choice of paying dues.

“It stands to reason that the law should not force workers against their will to pay union dues to radical causes of PSAC union bosses,” he said.

“Workers should have the right to know how their union dues are spent and if they don’t like what they see, the freedom to opt out of paying them.”

Previously, the evil Harper banned per-vote subsidies for political parties:

The Conservatives’ budget bill tabled Tuesday will end taxpayer-funded subsidies for federal political parties, a proposal that helped spark the 2008 coalition crisis but was promised again by the Tories in the spring election campaign.

[…]The 2011 Tory election platform cited $27.4 million as the cost to the taxpayer last year of the current $2 per vote subsidy.

[…]The other parties generally, but the Bloc Québécois in particular, do not match the Conservatives’ ability to fundraise from grassroots party members. An end to the party subsidies puts parties that are not effective at grassroots fundraising at a major financial disadvantage.

Returns filed with Elections Canada for 2010 show the Conservative party raising $17.4 million from some 95,000 donors. Other parties were far behind: the Liberals raised approximately $6.4 million from over 32,000 donors, while the NDP raised $4.3 million from just under 23,000 donors. The Bloc Québécois, then the third-largest party in the House of Commons, raised only $640,000 on its own from fewer than 6,000 donors.

And the evil Harper planned to banning loans to political parties from unions:

The Harper government’s plan to ban corporate and union loans to political parties will further tighten a revenue-raising vise on the opposition parties. The Liberal Party will be especially squeezed, as it prepares for a leadership race in 2013.

The goal of the legislation, which was introduced into the House Wednesday by Democratic Reform Minister Tim Uppal, is “to reduce the potential for undue influence of wealthy interests in the political process,” according a government release.

But the effect could be to further widen the gap between the Tories’ revenue-raising efforts and those of other parties, who badly trail in total campaign contributions from individual donors.

[…]Individuals will still be allowed to lend money, but their combined loans and donations will not be allowed to exceed the $1,100 annual contribution limit.

Banks and other accredited financial institutions will be able to lend money to parties and candidates, and political parties can lend money to constituency associations or candidates. But the terms must be publicly disclosed, including the amount, interest rate and the names of the lenders and guarantors, allowing other parties and the media to know who is in hock to whom and for how much.

Political contributions from unions are already banned.

We don’t see that level of aggression down here, do we? Canada even requires photo ID for voting, so there is no voter fraud. And they are reforming their immigration and welfare programs to eliminate fraud there, too. Unreal. It’s like they actually think that being conservative means… being conservative. Instead of kow-towing to the leftist media at cocktail parties.

It seems like Canada is embracing the free enterprise system at a time when we are turning our backs on it. And they’ve been reaping the benefits: smaller deficits, less spending and lower unemployment. We will get our chance in November to try and catch up to their financial success if we can kick our socialist President out.

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