Letter to the Editor by Darlene Jalbert – A Stronger Canada Pension Plan

Letter to the Editor by Darlene Jalbert – A Stronger Canada Pension Plan

A Stronger Canada Pension Plan

For your entire career you work hard and build a good life for your family. Every Pay cheque, your deductions include a small amount that is tucked away in your public pension plan.

When retirement comes, you expect to be able to live in dignity with some measure of financial security.  Yet this recession has shown that things might not be as secure as you have been led to believe. Your RRSP has been decimated by the global financial crisis.

And if you had been counting on your company pension plan, you might be in for an even greater surprise.  Over the past year more than 5,700 companies have filed for bankruptcy. In many of  those cases, the pension plans were underfunded and workers stand to lose out to  other creditors.

For most of us, then, the most secure retirement savings we have are in the Canada/Quebec Pension Plans (CPP/QPP), to which the vast majority of Canadians and their employers contribute. But at present, the maximum benefit it offers is $11,000 a year.

Yet the CPP/QPP remains the single most effective solution to ensure retirement security. It’s portable, sustainable, risk free and publicly (and cheaply) administered. It pays predictable benefits that don’t fall if markets collapse.

You contribute to it with each paycheque you take home. It’s safer than many company plans because the risk is shared with the 93 per cent of Canadians who are members.  And it is protected by legislation. That means that if even if your employer is declared bankrupt, your retirement savings are secure – unlike workers at Nortel, for example.

It also pays benefits progressively, so if you pay in more while working, you receive higher benefits when you retire. Its only drawback is the limit on the contributions you and your employer can make.

New Democrats want to raise that limit so that you can contribute more now and receive better benefits later.

Currently, the maximum CPP/QPP available benefit is $908.75 a month for an individual retiree. By allowing you and your employer to contribute an additional 2.5 per cent, the maximum benefit would gradually rise to $1,817.50 per month.

To put that 2.5 per cent contribution increase in perspective, most RRSPs charge that in administration fees. In fact, RRSP holders paid $25 billion in fees and commissions to mutual funds in 2007 alone. In exchange, they watched their retirement savings shrivel as many RRSPs lost up to 50 per cent of their value in the last year.

Instead of pumping more money into mutual funds and other investment vehicles that investment advisors tend to recommend, we believe that you and your employer should be allowed to contribute more money to CPP/QPP so you receive a far better benefit when you retire. Risk free.

The retirement-savings reform package New Democrats have put forward – from expanding CPP/QPP to protecting company pensions when bankruptcies occur – are the most effective and well-developed now under discussion in Ottawa. With the Conservatives tinkering at the edges and the Liberals only just beginning to talk about what needs to be done, there is no question that our party is in the lead on this issue.

We urge all parties in Ottawa to recognise that the national crisis in retirement savings requires national solutions and national leadership. Implement our plans. Ensure retirement security for Canadians. There’s no more time to waste.

Darlene Jalbert

Federal NDP Candidate

Stormont, Dundas & South Glengarry

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of the Cornwall Free News, their staff, or sponsors.)

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49 Comments on "Letter to the Editor by Darlene Jalbert – A Stronger Canada Pension Plan"

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admin
Admin

Great letter Ms Jalbert! Our governments seem bent on farming out services while raising taxes! The well is only so deep and we the voters have to stop being treated like sheep!

smee
Guest
Darlene It’s nice to see a local rep writing in the local media. Your letter but it appears to only state the obvious with no real solution or no real benefit to the plans or the people using them. If we pay to the CPP/QPP it would be the government using our monies to invest instead of banks. With the current investment strategies of our governments you would have a difficult time selling people on stability and responsible in investing. What happens to the money when it is paid by people/industry? How is it invested? What assurances can you make… Read more »
Darlene Jalbert
Guest
Dear Smee, In a heartbeat I would ask my employer to reduce thier contributions of RRSP to be able to increase the CPP. I can tell you from experience that the retirement investments made on my behalf took a big hit during the recession as did most. I cannot depend on it. I am tired of seeing our seniors who build this country, live in poverty. The days of having a good company pension plan are over. When I write letters to the editor I try to make them reader friendly for all. Details sometimes seem confusing. I do believe… Read more »
Jason
Member

How about eliminating the pension plan completely and instead… institute financial literacy in our education system so people can be independent and self-sufficient. Government is for people who refuse to take 100% responsibility for themselves.

smee
Guest
Darlene Perhaps I play on words a bit much but I find when people speak they are often unclear which often leads to even more uncertainty when attempting to achieve results or gather information in the future. You stated “In a heartbeat I would ask my employer to reduce their contributions of RRSP to be able to increase the CPP.” Does this refer to minimizing your employer’s contributing to their benefits? Or your minimize contributions to your pension plan? Secondly why have you not asked yet? The statement seems to be directed at the future. Also do you think Jack… Read more »
Eric
Guest

Some companies already match employee donations to a defined plan, will they be exempt?

Darlene Jalbert
Guest
Jason, the problem with your idea is that far too often when we are young, we don’t think about getting old. Also in a community where 25% of the population are working poor, there is no money to put aside for retirement. Smee, My statement is directed at the future, because until we reform CPP, we are unable to increase our donations, personal or employer. For those who have pension plans, those plans would not change. Eric, defined plans would not change. But unfortunately, these plans are being eliminated all the time by employers who cannot afford them. The Canada… Read more »
Eric
Guest
Thank you for your time and interest in so many subjects. An employer paying additional CPP costs per employee would probably cancel the defined plan then. Business, like Joe and Jane Worker, are being hit with a nickle here a dollar there for everything, there is enough money going to the 3 levels of gov’t, it just is not used right. I do not have a problem with some tax money going to help people who need it. However, when I got an A in school, I did not want to take a C so someone getting a D could… Read more »
Rational
Guest
You got some good sense there, Jalbert. It’s true – there is a strong argument for increased pension payment over RRSP – in particular if one does not invest in a Gold RRSP which is held in trust at the Royal mint. You have a fine idea. We need brave and smart people like yourself. It will be good when we break the habit of the ignorant leading the uneducated. There are brave people in this country, lots of them. When they aren’t leading themselves they look for leaders. Leaders look for voters. This ought to be a pretty good… Read more »
Jason
Guest
Darlene….. there is a reason why 25% of our population are part of the working poor. What you see is a symptom of a much larger root problem, one that no government has ever addressed. We seem to be in a world of quick fixes and patches… It’s easier I know… and from a political stand point it’s hard to get votes telling ppl what they need to hear, rather than what they want to hear. People can’t handle much truth and have a hard time taking 100% responsibilty for themselves which is only fueed by our societal systems and… Read more »
smee
Guest
Darlene Can you state that any increases in CPP contributions will not be reflected in any way on the person’s income and or taxes? Regarding the existing pensions you state “For those who have pension plans, those plans would not change.” Are pensions like government, public service and teachers pension plans not one of the biggest drains on our tax base? You are promoting change to the CPP or the Canadian public’s pension. The amount is almost insignificant compared to what the aforementioned group will have donated by my or our tax dollars. All levels of government seem to leave… Read more »
Eric
Guest

Yes smee, to back up your point, did you read in Ottawa just a few weeks ago, taxpayers had to kick in another 15 million dollars (15,000,000.00) for the bus drivers there, just because market conditions lowered the total in their pension. Well, many of us lost 10’s of thousands of dollars and no one helped us!

I am not against change, but ?

Rachel
Guest

In Quebec if a woman is over 40 and has a degree she can borrow money at less than prime from the government to buy a farm. I didn’t notice that program here. My pension would be a farm. Will you loan me money at less than prime?

billiam
Member

Well done, and well said Darlene. I wish I would have had that option in my youth.

smee
Guest
Fully-indexed pension. MPs receive a defined benefit (DB) pension based on earnings and service. They must contribute 9% of their sessional indemnities, have the option to contribute on any additional allowances and are entitled to a pension after six years. For service after 1995, the benefit accrual rate is 4%. The Prime Minister is required to contribute 7% of his salary for a pension equal to two-thirds of his final annual salary. He is entitled to the pension after four years of contributions. Based on the March 31, 1998 actuarial valuation report on the pension plan for the members of… Read more »
smee
Guest

Over the last few years, changes have been made to compensation for MPPs. In some provinces, the structure of MPPs’ compensation is quite different from their federal counterparts. For example, in 1996, Ontario eliminated MPPs’ rich pension plan and replaced it with a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) similar to those used by professionals. The legislation also placed Ontario MPPs on straight salary, eliminating hidden tax-free allowances and extra tax-free pay for committee work. Ontario MPP salaries are now $78,007. Benefits are estimated at $7,000, plus there’s a 5% employer-type RRSP contribution (or $3,900 per annum).

Eric
Guest

Here is a thought, stop paying the bilingual bonus to government employees and put that money towards a raise for senoirs…….

Anna
Guest

Yep, she’s a ball of fire alright, great responses…

smee
Guest

I didn’t think we would get answers for the points made. Kind of makes the bright light grow dim again

Jason
Member

Politicians tend to to run when real questions are asked… hello? Darlene… what is your SOLUTION for the ROOT problem we are facing in Cornwall re: 25% are working poor…

Darlene Jalbert
Guest
Anna & Smee, sorry it took so long. I do not always come on here every day and didn’t think this conversation would still be going, although glad it is. Its nice to know someone else out there is talking pensions besides me. I don’t have all the answers, wish I did! Smee increases to CPP would reflect your income and taxes the same way they do now. As far as MP’s pensions, I think the government is far too generous with OUR money. When it comes to union negotiated pensions, I say kutos to the unions, I wish everyone… Read more »
smee
Guest
I completely agree with the need to increase CPP. The question is who will be responsible to cover the cost. We can now add to that people such as Ruby Dhalla wanting to pay immigrants CPP after only 3 years. How do you account for the additional costs of that inevitable change? Kudos to unions *l* spoken like a true NDP representative. Unions are a bad solution to bad management, in this case government. Why does our government leave industry operate in such a manner that we need unions? It seems we are suppressed by government here in the Democratic… Read more »
smee
Guest
We do not need to negotiate more pensions with industry but with our government. You seem to believe that taxing industry which earns capital by marketing and selling a product is the route to go. Yet government, which uses people’s tax money to only sustain itself, has no accountability for the income it makes and the people it represents. There are no tangible goods that you can show me for the taxes I pay into pension plans. Our taxes pay for “union negotiated pensions” costing Ontarians for teachers alone bordering on 1 billion dollars per annum. How can you justify… Read more »
Darlene Jalbert
Guest

Smee, thank you for taking the time to express your thoughts.

Best regards,
Darlene Jalbert

Jason
Guest

Thanks for addressing the root problem darlene;)

smee
Guest
Here is another thought Darlene I spent the morning travelling around Cornwall trying to locate the NDP office. I figured it may be nice to introduce myself having posed such difficult opinions and questions, of which you seem to have fluffed off just like your peers. The latter will come back to visit you at election time. Businesses, other parties and other city offices have no idea who you are. Your webpage and phone number are inaccurate as well. Are we to assume that you only will work at election time, when it suits the party? I would have to… Read more »
smee
Guest

This is eastern Ontario winning an election is easy doing the job takes a little more

Here is another perspective to consider for all politicians
What if we took all Canadian born people, gave them free land in BC and PEI, Nova Scotia, and NewFoundland.

The open immigration and allow the immigrants to work the rest of the country but tax them severely so we as Canadians could live at ease.

Now take that scenario and look at the pension plans I mentioned and tell me how they differ. The only difference is government is doing it to everyone.

admin
Admin
smee how much have you donated to the party you supported in the last election? Did you vote in the last election? There is no Conservative office; there’s Guy Lauzon’s which comes out of his $250K office budget per year. Most politician’s don’t have “offices” for their parties except for during elections in every riding. Darlene as you can see isn’t hard to get a hold of. She’s the only current Federal nominee taking time from her full time job to post and answer questions and some of them tough ones. For that I think she deserves some major kudos!
Grimalot
Guest

Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem to have responded to smee’s questions. Just thanked smee for their thoughts.

Darlene Jalbert
Guest
smee, I do not have an office. We will have an office at election time to be used as a campaign office. I think if you go up the page I did give you my personal email to contact me for a more in detailed conversation. Just so you know, I receive no pay what so ever for any of the work I do. As a matter of fact I pay out of my own pocket for every event I attend, without regret. I work at a full time job in Ottawa. As for fluffing off your questions as you… Read more »
Stan
Member

At least we can talk to Guy Lauzon at the Conservative Constituency Office located next to Herb’s Diner on Pitt Street during business hours. As to where you might talk to the opposition parties (Liberal & NDP) representatives – Good Luck in finding them.

smee
Guest
admin and Darlene I quit donating to parties after approaching our last liberal MP’s office for help with a 62 yr old crippled with arthritis needing some help with paying for meds. They were told they are still employable and they should consider upgrading or returning to college. No questions were answered by Darlene. Yes thanx for the chat but all that was done is to attempt to give an opinion. I also know Darlene to make comment on my views would be political suicide. As you can see others make the same comment that no answers are provided. Darlene… Read more »
billiam
Member

Give Darlene a chance. I believe she will do right for the people.

admin
Admin

Willie I think the voters of this riding have some amazing talent to choose from. I’m really hoping that the issue becomes issue centric rather than totally partisan. My biggest concern and sadly I’m seeing it now is that the “other” media in town are being beyond partisan and will not give any other candidate than Mr. Lauzon a fair shake.

I saw that today at the rally.

smee
Guest

Jamie
Your post is a reminder of the pot calling the kettle black.

admin
Admin

How so smee?

Stan
Member

Thats crap smee. If you weren’t at the meeting then you cannot critique jamie. Be fair man.

Grimalot
Guest

smee, the admin wants to give Lauzon a chance to speak in this paper. It is Lauzon that keeps on avoiding any contact with this paper. And quite frankly, after looking at many papers in the area, the admin is right, the other papers don’t hardly give the time of day to any other candidates then Lauzon. In fact, the old penny grader, used to be ONLY Lauzon!

There is no pot calling the kettle black here. The kettle (Lauzon), wants to stay black!

Stan
Member

Maybe the pot should buy the kettle a vuvuzela…..

smee
Guest

I have seen some of your comments and discussions on the Freeholder site. You have your favorites as well. Having a function as media rep you should have no favorites else you cannot be bipartisan.

Lauzon well just have a look at him and Kilger at the grand opening of the Salvation Army in the freeholder. They look three sheets to the wind.

Could you imagine trying actually to take them seriously.

Grimalot
Guest
I speak out against all that pisses me off, I speak for all that I think is right. I make my comments on many sites, not just the SFH or CFN. I am also not any media rep if that is what you think (just in case you’re thinking that). I just have a hell of a lot of time on my hands, and yet have a rather solid social life. I just don’t like a lot of the crap going on around us. And what Jamie said is true, the mainstream media is being controlled. Want to see it,… Read more »
Stan
Member

Grimmy you goin to Hell boy! Just ask Pastor Tom

Jason
Guest

Anyone else find it funny that Darlene works in Ottawa…… hmmmm why Cornwall not able to offer you what you need? Maybe it is time to show true leadership and fix the ROOT cause of our cities problems.

Grimalot
Guest

Id rather go to hell with everyone I know then end up alone with the pastor in whatever supposed heaven there is..

Eric
Guest

Jason, under our bill of rights, we, including Darlene, have mobility rights within our country, and she has every right to work where the work is. The root causes will only be addressed when a large group organize under a determined leader to affect that change. ( you can almost hear O Canada in the background while reading this LOL)

Jason
Guest

Oh yea the bill of rights lol

Eric
Guest

Don’t laugh to hard though Jason, special interest groups are using the laws to further their cause, and at the expense of others.

Stan
Member

I don’t have any problems with Darlene working in Ottawa that is her right. I think that if she represents the citizens of Cornwall and associated areas then she should be living in Cornwall or at least in the riding. I would never vote for anyone who lives outside of my riding!

s'mee
Guest

Grimalot
Your conspiracy theory though close to the truth is a little speculative to say the least. Guy Lauzon probably has trouble controlling his own bladder let alone the media.

Media is controlled by a lot more influential people then the organ grinders monkey.

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