By Kevin Werner, News Staff
Under a federal Liberal government led by leader Justin Trudeau, it would be unnecessary for Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne to create a pension plan to help retirees who are feeling economically helpless.
Liberal MP Marc Garneau, a former astronaut, said in an interview May 8 that if Justin Trudeau and the Liberals were in government, all the provinces would benefit from an improved pension plan.
“We may have found a way of (supplementing the pension plan) federally to satisfy all of the provinces so there would not have been a need (for an Ontario Pension Plan idea),” said Garneau.
“We would be more co-operative in that respect. We are on record in favour of a plan (to) supplement the Canadian Pension Plan, a lot of the similarities of what Kathleen Wynne wants to do.”
Since the Ontario election began last week, Wynne has been attacking Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his unwillingness to help retirees. Wynne said during a gathering of premiers Harper refused to revamp CPP, which forced her to consider creating an OPP.
The proposal was included in the Liberals’ May 1 budget, but it was opposed by both the NDP and the Tories.
Wynne said the OPP would roughly double the maximum benefit of the CPP to $25,000 annually for retirees. Wynne also chided Harper for receiving about $191,000 annually in a pension for when he retires.
“The premier of Ontario wanted to work with (the prime minister) to supplement pensions,” said Garneau. “In the end Ottawa wasn’t going to do it. I can understand Kathleen Wynne’s frustration. Supplementing pensions is very important. The reality is we are living 10 years longer than 30, 40 years ago. People haven’t saved enough. We need a mechanism to do that.”
Garneau, who didn’t want to get involved too much in Ontario’s election, did say he wants the Liberals to win. He did say Harper isn’t the type of leader to “sit around the table” and work together with other premiers to solve problems. The 65-year-old MP for Westmount-Ville Marie had been a Liberal leadership hopeful but stepped aside in 2013 as Trudeau cruised to victory.
Garneau was the guest speaker of a Hamilton Mountain federal Liberal riding association dinner at the Marquis Gardens May 8.