Trudeau targets seniors with pension plan pledge

Click here to read ‘Trudeau targets seniors with pension plan pledge‘ – The Canadian Press, September 14, 2015.

TORONTO — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is sticking with his three-year deficit spending plan despite figures released Monday that show the federal government registered a surprise surplus in the last fiscal year.

Trudeau has made infrastructure spending a key plank in his bid to become prime minister, a plan that would not see the budget balanced until 2019.

But Finance Department numbers for 2014-15 could cast questions over that vision.

Ottawa posted a $1.9-billion surplus, bringing the books back into the black a year earlier than expected. A shortfall of $2 billion had been forecast.

Trudeau accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper of balancing the budget on the backs of a broad cross-section of Canadians.

“Mr. Harper worked hard to try and balance the budget last year in time for the election by cutting program spending to Canadians who need it — whether it’s our veterans, our seniors or First Nations,” Trudeau said during a stop in Toronto.

“We’re in deficit right now. But of the different deficits out there, the fiscal deficit isn’t the one that concerns Canadians and certainly doesn’t concern economists that much. It is the infrastructure deficit that is so concerning to so many people. That’s what’s slowing down our growth.”

Of the three main party leaders, Trudeau is alone in his commitment to hold off on surpluses for three years.

“The Liberal party is the only party standing straight, looking Canadians in the eye and saying, ‘We need investment and that is what we are going to do to grow the economy, to balance the books in 2019’,” Trudeau said.

His comments came after he promised to enhance the Canada Pension Plan and boost incomes for low-income seniors.

Trudeau told the Canadian Association of Retired Persons that the Liberals would begin talks with the provinces on how to improve the pension system within three months of taking office.

He said the Liberals would also bring in a seniors price index to ensure old age security keeps pace with inflation.