Manitoba didn't sign on to CPP deal but wants premiers, finance minister to broaden changes
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister wants pension plan's death benefit indexed to inflation
Despite not signing on to the Canada Pension Plan changes announced last month, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says the deal is "great" for millennials but more should be done to help people right now.
"We have a consensus that the plan should be made better for millennials in 30 years. Great, that's fine. Except that if we are going to stop there, I think we are missing a real opportunity," Pallister said in an interview on Power & Politics.
On June 20, all of Canada's provincial finance ministers — with the exception of Manitoba and Quebec — agreed to increasing the CPP benefit over time, by about one-third once the changes are fully phased in. The provinces were asked to finalize their agreements with the federal government by July 15.
At the time, Manitoba abstained from voting for the deal. Pallister said his government was only two months old and he wanted more time to study the proposals. He also said he was concerned that the CPP agreement did not address the need for people to manage their own retirement savings.
"I guess what I'm talking about is making sure we don't lose sight of individual responsibility in the hoopla around debating the CPP augmentation here," Pallister said at the time.
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Speaking to Power & Politics host Rosemary Barton, Pallister said Monday while it was "indisputable" the deal would help 30- to 40-year-olds down the road, now was the time to ensure the CPP is expanded in other key areas.
"Getting a consensus around changing the CPP shouldn't be confined to just making it bigger. We should be looking to make it better as well for people who retire next year — not just in 30 years," he said.
The Manitoba premier has been calling other premiers and federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau in an attempt to convince them to support changes to the CPP's death benefit — a one-time payment of up to $2,500 that is paid to the estate of a deceased CPP contributor.
"There's no doubt that that is a valuable benefit to Canadian pensioners and it assists families at a time of need, so I would want to see that benefit indexed [to inflation]," he said.
Pallister is also seeking assurances that the CPP deal will not negatively impact the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) that a pensioner receives.
Question of leverage?
Pallister says he will be pushing these ideas, and others, before the Summer Meeting of Canada's Premiers in Whitehorse, Yukon on July 20-22.
"I ... really believe that we have a chance to build on the consensus we have and should not let that pass because it isn't easy to get … seven provinces representing two-thirds of the population to agree to anything," he said. "So let's not miss this opportunity."
Pushing for additional CPP changes may be difficult for a premier that has not signed on to the deal, but Pallister says he is confident his proposals will gain traction.
"The leverage is the quality of the ideas themselves," he said. "I have no other leverage than that. These are logical and reasonable ideas and I will continue to advance them because I think that they are supported by Canadians."