Watson gets earful from Unifor members regarding Canada Pension Plan



Watson rally2By Ron Giofu


Members of Unifor locals from around the area gathered in front of the constituency office of Essex MP Jeff Watson Friday afternoon with the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) being one of their main focal points.

Unifor members rallied to call for the “Harper Conservatives and Jeff Watson” to put in place policies that would increase CPP and increase the standard of living for seniors. Chris Taylor, president of Unifor Local 200, said the Members of Parliament have “gold plated pension plans” with members of the Big 3 also having good pension plans. However, he told the rally “there’s far too many Canadians that don’t have good pension plans.

“Regardless of spin, it’s not a tax. It’s an investment,” said Taylor.

A petition of over 3,000 names was presented as part of the rally and Taylor said they will continue the fight.

“Too many people cannot afford to live off CPP,” he said.

Windsor West MP Brian Masse, a New Democrat, accused the right wing of stating pensions are “a legacy cost” when “pensions are a legacy benefit.” He believed the Conservative ideology is to “destroy the middle class” and said investments should be made in CPP rather than giving tax cuts to the oil and gas industry, banks and insurance companies.

Dino Chiodo, president of the Windsor and District Labour Council, said CPP for many people amounts to $12,000 per year.

“Can anyone tell me you can retire with $12,000 per year? It’s impossible,” said Chiodo.

Chiodo asked what economic “triggers” have to be met to ensure “this is the right economic time” for increases to CPP. He also hoped for more $20 per hour jobs for the next generation and more jobs to be put in place to protect the future generations. He said all that is being asked is that health and safety of people be protected and that people are taken care of in their own country.

Watson did come out towards the end the rally towards and addressed the crowd. He said CPP is part of the overall picture of the retirement sector that includes OAS and private contributions to retirement plans. The Conservative MP also touted his party’s Economic Action Plan and investments in FedDev Ontario in this region.

There have been modest gains proposed for CPP that have been agreed upon, said Watson, with the recommendation to phase those in. He added that it is important for the economy to be able to pay for it.

Canada Post was also debated during the rally, with CUPW Local 630 president Jeff Carroll stating the corporation stands to lose 6,000-8,000 jobs if downsizing plans continue to happen. He said removing door-to-door delivery “is not an answer” and that there are other ways of keeping Canada Post viable. He told the rally that Canada Post “is one of the most profitable Crown corporations in Canada” and has made a profit 17 of the last 18 years. He believed there could be a privatization of the service in the future.

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