Finance minister's office occupied by Ontario Federation of Labour president over private pensions scheme

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WHITBY, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 17, 2010) -- Ontario Federation of Labour President Sid Ryan, unions and community members have just occupied Jim Flaherty's office, 701 Rossland Road East, Unit 204, Whitby, stunned by his last-minute betrayal of Canadians' retirement security.

On the eve of the Kananaskis provincial finance ministers' meeting, Flaherty has dumped the expansion of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and put all Canadians at the mercy of the banks, mutual fund and insurance industries.

Less than a month ago, Flaherty stood in front of Canada's labour leaders and members pledging support for an expanded CPP as the vehicle through which to ensure retirement security. Yesterday, in a public capitulation to the financial industry, he completely reversed himself.

"His proposal is nothing more than a glorified savings plan for Canadians," says OFL President Sid Ryan. If this industry was capable delivering secure pensions to Canadians, it would have done so 50 years ago.

"He wants us to have faith that big business can deliver on retirement security. Nortel pensioners and millions of other average Canadians had faith and now look at them at the end of their work lives," says Ryan.

Unlike the CPP, any monies in the hands of the financial industry, vanishes in the form of lush management fees. Sun Life, one of the insurance companies that will make massive profits from Flaherty's deal, is calling the proposal a "historic milestone."

"It's a milestone for sure. Of course they are wildly enthusiastic. The financial industry has wrecked the global economy, fuelled a terrible world recession and with its friend Jim Flaherty is now poised to rob us of our future. Provincial governments, seniors' organizations, the labour movement and civil society organizations have put years of work into this and we're not prepared to let Flaherty and the financiers steal our future."

The majority of provinces are supporting the expansion of the CPP as the way to ensure retirement security for all Canadians. Yesterday, Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan said the provinces are working the phones to ensure the CPP plan is not dropped. $10,000 invested over a lifetime in the CPP would yield $72,000 by retirement, compared to financial industry investment yield worth less than $29,500.

Updates from the occupation will be going out regularly.


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