“Politicians not addressing what Older Canadians need” CARP poll shows


January 29, 2009

“Politicians not addressing what Older Canadians need” CARP poll shows

TORONTO, ON: CARP members welcome broad based tax relief but see little else of benefit to them in the January 27, 2009 Federal Budget. However, they still do not want an election or change of government.

CARP issued its Special Budget 2009 edition of CARP Action Online http://www.imakenews.com/carp/ shortly after the Minister of Finance finished his Budget Speech on Tuesday with a full summary of issues of importance to its 350,000 members across the country. Of the 50,000 opt-in subscribers, over 1,500 logged their responses in the online survey in just one day.

Their responses will be forwarded to all the federal parties as they start their deliberations on the Budget.

A substantial majority [85%] are in favour of budget provisions which directly benefit them, such as broad based tax relief, the increased age credit and the home improvement tax credit but felt that they would not benefit from the help for older workers, 5 extra weeks of Employment Insurance and other EI improvements. There was a bit more support [39%] for more seniors’ housing. The divided support for the re-announcement of the 25% reduction in mandated RRIF withdrawals can be interpreted as “better than nothing” or “not enough”.

Despite this somewhat mixed response to the provisions targeting older Canadians, CARP Action Online readers support the Budget overall and a clear majority [80%] want the opposition parties vote to support the budget rather than have the coalition take over[10%] or, even less palatable, precipitate a new election [4.3%].

The poll results are attached below. For up to the minute results, please click on the “See results” button in the newsletter.

“These must be the same poll numbers that the politicians are seeing from their internal polling – which they may interpret as support for their lack lustre championing of our issues. They would be wrong – people just do not want any more upheaval but still want their needs addressed,” said Susan Eng, Vice President, Advocacy of CARP.

“The Opposition should take special note that the budget proposals they claim credit for – social housing and skills training – had little resonance for our members and the demographic they represent – 45plus Canadians who are consistently the most engaged and active voters. We have been clear about what we want and the politicians are not listening,” added Eng

Need relief for RRIF holders

In its pre-budget submission, CARP called for a two-year moratorium on mandated RRIF withdrawals to provide some immediate relief for people whose retirement savings have been devastated by the severe market downturn. In response to a similar demand, the US Congress approved a one year moratorium on its 401K withdrawals for 2009. And compared to the US treatment, Canadians are already required to deplete their tax-deferred savings at almost twice the rate of their American counterparts.

The confirmation of the 25% reduction in mandated RRIF withdrawals announced in the November Economic Statement has to be taken as a small nod to the widespread clamor for a two year moratorium on the mandatory withdrawals but it is a far cry from what is needed. And even this little measure caused no end of frustration as people were unable to apply the discount in making their year-end withdrawals. The financial institutions were either not able to re-program their computers or were unwilling to take the chance that the proposal would not be enacted.