March 22 2011:
CARP members have low expectations for the budget, but insist they will not support it unless it includes financial aid for single seniors. Their desires for the budget are first, altruistic, then based in longer-term concerns, in that they want to also see a national pharmacare program and pension reforms. However, members don’t think the government will meet their expectations, and this will shape their support in any future election.
CARP members have initially low expectations for the upcoming budget and the majority (two thirds) believe it will mostly consist of targeted spending for key constituencies like any election budget. Members agree that the primary focus of the budget should and will be deficit reduction, followed by stimulus spending.
There is strong agreement (but low expectations) that the budget should contain targeted measures for single seniors. While there is strong support for income assistance for seniors in the budget, there is majority support for an election fought on CARP’s ideal of a comprehensive solution to poverty. Members disagree with planned corporate tax cuts, but are split on whether Quebec should be granted a $2 billion HST settlement.
While members volunteer a number of different priorities for the budget, the only thing they agree on is it will contain economic stimulus, despite the fact the government has said it will not. Members agree that the minimum they want to see, expect to see and won’t support the budget unless they do see, is financial aid for single seniors, and, while they’d like to see the elimination of compulsory RRIF withdrawals, relaxing of GIS rules and ending to OAS clawbacks, their expectations and demands for these measures are not as high.
When asked to design their own budget package out of a number of options provided, members focus on packages which include, in descending order of preference:
• Financial aid for single seniors
• National pharmacare program
• Eliminate mandatory RRIF withdrawals
• Eliminate OAS clawbacks
• Remove barriers to GIS eligibility
Keywords: budget, seniors