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The President of CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador, Wayne Lucas, says he is shocked at the federal finance minister’s dismissal of the urgent need to address the Canada Pension Plan.

The expectations from people across the country were that maybe this time we would get something done,” says Lucas. “Instead, Flaherty slammed the door in our faces.”

He says he is flabbergasted that the government would fly in all those ministers to talk about enhancing the CPP, and then not talk about enhancing the CPP.

It’s a load of nonsense to call the enhancements a payroll tax,” Luca says. “They are deferred wages. And there is no basis for claiming the economy would suffer. When premiums were increased in the early 90s, the economy and employment actually grew.”

CUPE supports a modest, phased-in increase in premiums that would allow for an eventual doubling of benefits for all working Canadians.

Of the 19 million working Canadians, 11 million don’t have workplace pensions. “And that,” says Lucas, “makes the Canada Pension Plan that much more important.”

The big losers are going to be small and medium-sized businesses, he says, “because if people don’t have decent pensions, they won’t have any money to spend.

There is no question the Canada Pension Plan model is a good one. However, if we don’t soon do something to enhance it, the next generation, twenty, thirty years down the road, is going to be lost.”