John Ibbitson wrote:Here is what we are going to see in the coming weeks, after Parliament resumes Monday.
- a budget that balances the books in two or three years;
- departmental spending slashed by upward of 10 per cent in order to achieve that target;
- major reforms to the immigration system, with a big push to bring in skilled workers who speak English or French, at the expense of reuniting families;
- passage of the bill to create pooled retirement plans for workers who currently don’t have pensions.
Most contentious of all, the government plans to raise the age for receiving the Old Age Security pension supplement, probably from 65 to 67....
Both Brian Mulroney and Jean Chrétien vetoed their finance ministers’ proposals to reform the OAS, fearing the political cost of meddling with pensions. Susan Eng of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons is already at battle stations.
“Increasing the age for OAS right now is the wrong thing to do at the wrong time,” she said Sunday on Global TV’s The West Block. “They can find the money elsewhere.”
It's interesting that an across-the-board cut in spending of 10% now would be considered less contentious than an increase in the retirement age (i.e., the matter that is "most contentious of all") that would not actually go into effect for many years from now.