Budget snubs older Canadians

Originally published in the StraightGoods.ca website on March 9th 2010. To go to the Straight Goods website, please click here.

CARP members who responded 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.” said Susan Eng, Vice President Advocacy, for CARP. “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.

Given the usual Conservative bias to our sample, their increased support for the Opposition Liberals should give all MPs pause.

“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.”

Eng added: “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.'”

Overnight, CARP’s members signalled their strong dissatisfaction. Given the usual Conservative bias to our sample, their increased support for the Opposition Liberals should give all MPs pause. CARP’s 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.

More than 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 visit the address below. The current poll results are attached and added below.

A clear majority felt that the Throne Speech [57 percent] and Budget [70 percent] did NOT meet their expectations. More than twice as many people said they would be less likely to vote for the government compared to those 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, respondents’ electoral preference was 41 percent Conservatives and 39 percent Liberals.

The vast majority had no patience for the “recalibration” excuse and found that there was nothing in either the Throne Speech or Budget that warranted the suspension of Parliament [77 precent]; nor was there any innovative measure that would make a difference to the economy [75 percent]. Similarly, members said the budget would not be effective at reducing the deficit [67 percent] nor at promoting growth and jobs [66 percent]. And the majority really disapproved [77 percent] of the proposal to change the words of O Canada. They thought the study of the proposal would be a complete waste of time [83 percent].