Budget Snubs Older Canadians and They Might Return the Favour


March 5, 2010

Budget Snubs Older Canadians and They Might Return the Favour

TORONTO, ON: CARP members responding to an overnight poll panned the announcements in the Throne Speech and the Federal Budget. They wanted the government to focus on retirement security and pension reform issues, but got Seniors’ Day instead. Given the opportunity, they would vote against the government over this Budget.

“Clearly, CARP members now see that their government is not listening to them. We have been unequivocal on the urgent need for comprehensive pension reform and the Throne Speech was the right place for the government to declare that it would act to ensure the future retirement security of all Canadians. Further the Federal Budget was the place to announce substantial increases to the Old Age Security to help people who face poverty in old age. Changes to TFSA, RRSP and RRIF rules would have helped those whose retirement savings were devastated by the recent market crash. Older Canadians got fine words in the Throne Speech- which is not nothing- but the Budget did not back them up”, said Susan Eng, Vice President, Advocacy of CARP

“I told our members: ‘The wordsmithing is a nice touch – so now we’re “Those Who Helped Build Canada”. Enjoy that because that’s all you got.’” added Eng.

“Overnight, our members signalled their strong dissatisfaction and given the usual Conservative bias to our sample, their increased support for the Opposition Liberals should give all MPs pause. Our members’ traditional support for the government may be eroding. Older voters are the most politically engaged and politicians ignore their demands at their peril. Good thing I did not ask them what they thought about ‘Seniors Day’!” added Eng.

Over 1,800 CARP members responded overnight to the poll in the e-newsletter, CARP ActionOnline, which was issued shortly after the Budget Speech. For the e-newsletter and poll, please click: http://www.imakenews.com/carp/. The current poll results are attached and added below.

Two Thumbs Down

A clear majority felt that the Throne Speech [57%] and Budget [70%] did NOT meet their expectations. More than twice as many people would be less likely to vote for the government as there were people who would be more likely to vote for the government as a result of either the budget or the Throne Speech.

The CARP poll sample is normally biased in favour of the Conservatives but despite this, their electoral preference was 41% Conservatives and 39% Liberals.

The vast majority had no patience for the “recalibration” excuse and found that there was neither anything in the Throne Speech or Budget that warranted the suspension of Parliament [77%] nor any innovative measure that would make a difference to the economy [75%]. Similarly, members said the budget would not be effective at reducing the deficit [67%] nor at promoting growth and jobs [66%].

And they really disapproved [77%] of the proposal to change the words of O Canada and think the study of the proposal is a complete waste of time [83%].