Newly appointed Conservative Senators are finding their perks rather appealing – so appealing that they are cheating taxpayers to cash in. First Patrick Brazeau abused the system, and now Mike Duffy. We can all agree they should repay their takings and we all agree their expenses will never outweigh their salaries. We can, then, agree the housing allowance perk should be scrapped and the savings be refunded.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty confirmed that Canada is in deeper economic trouble than anyone was willing to tell us. They didn’t want us to know how much they actually spent and they tried their best to hide the numbers, as the Auditor General pointed out last month, but as we crunch the numbers, we see that this government has spent more than any government in Canadian history.
The Conservatives may have enacted austerity and they may be calling themselves good economic managers, but as we speak, they are not only spending recklessly, they are trying to hide their spending from the public and from elected MPs in the House of Commons.
In politics, there is no such thing as a reality. If people think a certain way of a party, this way of thinking becomes a reality that is set in stone. While polls aren’t always accurate, they give people a chance to see what others are thinking and it also gives a chance to see where people stand on policies and what perceptions they have of political parties.
The opposition has been doing everything they can to stop Bill C38 or the Omnibus Budget Implementation Bill – the same bill that would attack and transform EI, the same budget that would attack pensions and retirement, and the same budget that would take an axe to environmental regulations to prop up the Alberta tar sands exploitation project.
Flaherty’s new budget outlined the increase of retirement age from 65 to 67 but meanwhile the golden pensions of MPs remain in tact and will only be discussed this fall. Again, the Conservatives put ideology ahead of the wellbeing of the population, but don’t count on the opposition to provide a real alternative.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty introduced yesterday the first budget since the Conservatives won their coveted majority. The budget aims to cut $5.2 billion over 3 years by cutting an average of 7% per program and will phase out over 19,000 civil service jobs. It is worth noting that in the first 2 years of their first mandate back in 2006, the Conservatives increased program spending by over 40% and this budget is a far cry from restoring Canada to a prudent economic state.
The Conservatives may have attacked Bob Rae in a recent set of attack ads but the Liberals are exchanging fire, blasting them on their economic record. However, no ad has been released – yet.
As a part of Harper’s announced “major transformations,” the retirement age will be increased to 67 from 65. The argument is that our current Old Age Security system is unsustainable but when you look at the way the Conservatives manage your money and when you look at their pensions, you just have to wonder if it is necessary.
In light of Harper’s “major transformations” to the pensions of ordinary Canadians, it is time we take a look at MP pensions. MPs are eligible to take home half of their $157,000 per year salaries starting at 55 as pensions and receive benefits as long as they serve for 6 years. This is way more than the pennies any working Canadian will ever see at 65 – now imagine 67. Many more senior MPs get significantly more than that.