Conservatives’ steal from poor seniors

The federal Conservative government's latest budget, falls short for those who need it the most.

The federal Conservative government’s latest budget gives the most to those who need it the least.

Stephen Harper’s priority is a $2 billion income-splitting plan and a massive increase to the limit for Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs). Both of these measures disproportionately benefit the rich instead of focusing that help on the middle class and those who are working hard to join it.

The vast majority of Canadian households – 85 percent – won’t get a dime from income-splitting, but they will be the ones left to pay for it.

Increasing the TFSA limit to $10,000 per year is also expensive and unfair.

The previous TFSA limit was helping the middle class save for retirement. However, most Canadians won’t benefit from the new higher limit. Canadians who are struggling don’t have an extra $10,000 to sock away each and every year. But wealthy Canadians can spare that amount.

The new TFSA limit will end up costing the government billions of dollars each year. A third of that cost will be borne by the provinces. And because TFSAs don’t count toward income-tested benefits, it will result in additional Old Age Security (OAS) payments for already wealthier seniors. When asked about the long term consequences of the new TFSA limit, Finance Minister Joe Oliver shrugged and said it was a problem for “Stephen Harper’s granddaughter to solve.”

Yet these are the same Conservatives who, shortly after the last election, broke their promise and passed a law to raise the age of Old Age Security from 65 to 67. They falsely claimed that they had to do it in order to keep the OAS program financially sustainable.

Raising the age of OAS to 67 takes $32,000 away from each of Canada’s poorest and most vulnerable seniors. The government will be taking that money away at precisely the same time as the extra OAS payments for wealthier seniors start to really kick-in. The federal Conservatives are stealing from poor seniors in order to give that money to the rich. It’s unfair and un-Canadian.

“The rich get richer and the poor get poorer” used to be an old adage. Under the federal Conservatives, it has become government policy.

Scott Brison, MP