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Truro – CUPE Nova Scotia President Danny Cavanagh says he is shocked at the federal finance minister’s dismissal of the urgent need to address the Canada Pension Plan.

With so many people facing the likelihood of living out their senior years in poverty, it’s hard to rationalize why our federal government would not see the value in ensuring people can retire with dignity,” Cavanagh says.

He adds that it was irresponsible for the government to spend all that money flying in finance ministers for a meeting on CPP, and then not talk about enhancements to the plan.

There is absolutely no basis for Flaherty’s claims that the economy would suffer,” says Cavanagh. “When premiums were increased in the early 90s, the economy and employment actually grew.”

He says the minister should be ashamed for misleading Canadians into thinking that pension premiums are like a payroll tax, he continues, when what they really are is deferred wages.

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 Cavanagh, “is why the Canada Pension Plan is so important.”

The big losers are going to be the business community, he says, because if people don’t have decent pensions, they won’t be spending money.

There is no question the CPP model is a good one. However, if we don’t do something soon to enhance it, the next generation will not be able to meet their basic needs in retirement.”