Sarah Park —
CARP members are shifting their political support away from the Conservative party over the government’s continued refusal to expand CPP contributions and benefits. Not only do they believe the government does not deserve their support if it doesn’t take action, they agree that any arguments put forth to defend its position are based on ideology, not good policy.
In recent polls of more than 2,000 CARP members nationwide, 43% say they will vote Liberal, compared to just 31% who will vote Conservative in the next election (the NDP takes 21%) and this is a sharp reversal of traditional member voting patterns. In addition, 71% of members say the current government doesn’t deserve power if it doesn’t increase CPP contributions and benefits, and the most common reason cited by members for government inaction on this file is “ideological bias”. Specifically, members reject the argument advanced by the federal Finance Minister that the economy is too weak to support an expanded CPP.
“This is a perilous file for the government to get wrong. Older Canadians have been among their most enthusiastic supporters for years, and that’s beginning to change. For CARP members to prefer the Liberals by such a wide margin is a tectonic shift in our membership. Members saw increasing the OAS age as undermining the social safety net and now this will be seen as the government not taking action to help Canadians save for their own retirement.
“It didn’t help that Secretary of State for Finance Kevin Sorenson used discredited talking points to publicly trash a modest CPP increase. CARP members are genuinely concerned for their children and grandchildren who face real insecurity unless they can have a better way to save now.
“Instead of alienating such a core group of supporters, they could earn a tremendous amount of goodwill by taking the good advice of business leaders, pension experts, economists, union leaders and voters and taking the lead on a policy that will, eventually, benefit every single Canadian” said Susan Eng, VP of Advocacy for CARP.