BACK DOWN FROM OAS BLUNDER: NDP TO CONSERVATIVES

Opposition day motion calls on House to reject Harper’s changes to OAS 

OTTAWA – New Democrats are calling on the House of Commons to take a stand against Stephen Harper’s move to balance the Conservative deficit by cutting future benefits for seniors.

The NDP opposition motion put forward by MP Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe (Pierrefonds-Dollard) asks the House to not only reject changes to the age of eligibility for Old Age Security, but to commit to a reduction strategy for seniors’ poverty.

“We could take practical, affordable steps right now to lift every Canadian senior out of poverty, but instead, Stephen Harper is making the wrong choices and leaving Canadian seniors vulnerable,” said Blanchette-Lamothe.

“By threatening changes to the OAS, this government is pitting one generation against the next. We’ve all worked hard and played by the rules. There’s no reason to bankrupt the next generation of Canadians with Conservative reckless cuts.”

Pensions critic Wayne Marston (Hamilton East – Stoney Creek) added that budget cuts are all about choices - and Stephen Harper could easily choose wiser.

“The Conservatives gave $16 billion in tax cuts to profitable corporations without receiving a single job guarantee. And now, facing a revenue shortfall, they expect Canadian seniors to pay the price,” said Marston.

“They have no problem spending $30 billion on their F-35 boondoggle and another $19 billion for their unpopular prisons agenda, but they can’t spare $540 a month for Canada’s poorest seniors. It’s about time they get their priorities straight,” said Marston.

Seniors Critic Irene Mathyssen (London-Fanshawe) added that the evidence just isn’t there to support the Conservative claim that OAS funds are unsustainable.

“Advice commissioned by the Harper government contradicts these very claims. We need a comprehensive strategy. It’s time for the government to back down from this wrong-headed move. It undermines the old age security that this government is supposed to protect,” said Mathyssen.