WINNIPEG Adults are fumbling the ball when it comes to creating a better deal for young people, CUPE National President Paul Moist told the Canadian Club of Winnipeg today.
Our generation is in power, occupying positions of authority and influence but we are fumbling the ball on a number of key social policy fronts, Moist said. The fiscal infrastructure and social policy burdens of today are being passed on deferred, really to the workforce of tomorrow. They will bear the consequences of our mistakes.
Baby boomers and older Canadians have benefited from social programs like public health care and have had good educational opportunities without the crushing debt and skyrocketing tuition that younger people now face, Moist said.
Disturbing trends threaten the social safety net that my parents generation constructed over the last 60 years, he added. Voter turnout in the 2000 federal election among people aged 18 to 25 was just 25 per cent compared to 82.2 per cent among people aged 58 and over, showing an increasing level of disconnect between younger Canadians and our electoral system.
Federal and provincial funding cuts to post-secondary education have led to undergraduate fees tripling between 1990 and 2004, he said. The graduating class of 2000 had 30 per cent more debt than the class of 1995. Many boomers had no such barriers.
Retirement security is weakening for those in todays workforce. Younger workers are contributing 2.75 times more into the Canada Pension Plan than those who worked between 1966 and 1986 but will receive less when they retire. This is a terrible deal, he added, calling the CPP an intergenerational compact that must be improved. Only 40 per cent of Canadians have private retirement plans.
All of this stands to hinder people from leading the full lives that todays boomers have enjoyed, Moist said. It is no wonder younger people are walking away in droves from our political and electoral structures. They are getting a bad deal they deserve much better.
Contacts: Paul Moist, CUPE National President, cell (613)-558-2873;
David Robbins, CUPE Communications, cell (613)-878-1431