Steven Myers calls provincial pension plan 'payroll tax no one can afford'

Teresa Wright
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Prince Edward Island Opposition leader warns of more economic hardship in province

Steven Myers

If Prince Edward Island signs onto Ontario’s proposed pension plan, Islanders will be facing unwanted economic hardship, says Opposition Leader Steven Myers.

He says Premier Robert Ghiz’s decision to team up with Ontario and Manitoba to develop a provincial plan to supplement the Canadian Pension Plan is “a

payroll tax that no one can afford.”

“How can Ghiz expect to stimulate the economy and create jobs when all he wants to do is take more money from employers and employees?” Myers said.

Last week, Ghiz travelled to Toronto to announce P.E.I. has joined a new

working group that

will study ways to supplement the CPP in order to enhance incomes for retirees.

The initiative is being

led by Ontario, which has said it plans to move ahead with its own pension

plan after Finance Minister Jim Flaherty nixed the

idea of raising CPP premiums.

P.E.I. Finance Minister Wes Sheridan has championed CPP reform, and it’s why P.E.I. is now working with Ontario to explore alternative ways to help seniors put away more money for their retirement.

Ghiz was not available for comment Friday, but a spokesman in his office stressed the province is only involved in a working group struck to examine the issue, and has not agreed to sign onto any new pension plan yet.

“For us, being on the working group is important because it allows us to continue the important work that we’ve done on CPP over the past year,” said Guy Gallant, policy adviser to the premier.

“I think having two provinces sit on the working group shows the federal government that we’re still serious about making sure that retirees have more money in their pockets when it comes time to retire.”

But Myers says he is concerned Ghiz will indeed sign on to Ontario’s pension plan, which would impose pension premiums on workers and employers already feeling financially stretched in P.E.I.

“Islanders are already coping with increased income tax, increased business tax, increased fees and the HST,” Myers said.

“To then take money

off their paycheques would be pouring salt on a

very open and painful wound.”

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is also raising concern over the possibility of a new pension plan.

“Entrepreneurs in provinces that sign onto such a plan would be at a competitive disadvantage to those in provinces that choose to avoid these new payroll taxes,” says a statement on the CFIB website.

Local CFIB spokeswoman Erin McGrath-Gaudet told The Guardian earlier this week P.E.I. is already one of the highest-taxed jurisdictions in the country and this would

be another blow to employers and workers in the province.

She said the P.E.I. should instead introduce legislation to allow small businesses to take part in Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPPs), which would be a voluntary option to help Islanders save more for their retirements.

“We haven’t seen P.E.I. going down this road yet, which is a concern to us,” McGrath-Gaudet said.

“They may not be government’s version of what’s perfect, but they’re certainly good and they’re an improvement so we would certainly ask government to start moving down that road in the immediate future regardless of what other roads they want to travel down.”

In the coming weeks Ontario plans to release its plans about how it will roll out its own provincial pension plan – one that will be similar to CPP.

Gallant said P.E.I. will

not be part of that plan when it is announced, but will continue to discuss the issue as part of Ontario’s working group together with Manitoba, which

has also signed on to the group.

 

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

Organizations: Canadian Federation of Independent Business

Geographic location: Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba Toronto

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Recent comments

  • Peter
    March 12, 2014 - 07:03

    P.E.I. Finance Minister Wes Sheridan has championed CPP reform, and it’s why P.E.I. is now working with Ontario to explore alternative ways to help seniors put away more money for their retirement. This is absolute baloney! How many seniors are putting money away for retirement, let alone "more" money? Answer ... NONE! We seniors, or 99% of us, are already drawing our pensions, and not paying in any more, so it's the "younger generation" and other that aren't already retired that's going to be paying "more" towards their own pensions. As a senior living only on CPP, OAS, and GIS, my federal income for year 2013 is $77.32, but my PEI tax for 2013 is $680.37 ... I heat my home with propane ... my last fill up has $201.23 HST added to it. If Sheridan and Ghiz want to help seniors, I strong suggest they look a little closer to home. This provincial pension plan is, I think, just a money grab to be "invested"... which means spent now, let future generations worry about it!

  • Please Stop Talking
    March 11, 2014 - 20:42

    I am so tired of hearing Steven Myers rant and rave. He is a bully. I will never vote PC again . Bag of hot air.

  • Campaigner Ghiz
    March 11, 2014 - 18:49

    This is about Robert Ghiz campaigning from the Premier's Office for a federal seat in either 2015 or 2019. He's testing the waters and trying to find as many friends outside of PEI as he can. He's willing to sign silly agreements that he knows aren't going anywhere in order to make as many Toronto-based friends as he can. He sees it this way: he'll sign an agreement knowing it isn't actually going to be implemented. Then he gets to stand up on stage with other Liberals across Canada and get his name in a few headlines. Ghiz is a smart guy. He knows this pension plan scheme is a terrible, terrible idea and that no government would actually implement it. This is about Ontario's fight with Jim Flaherty and Tim Hudak. PEI is not involved here at all except for the Ghiz factor. So he's doing a little campaigning at our expense in the hopes that he can move himself up the cabinet ladder in a future Justin Trudeau government. He doesn't just want to be the ACOA minister, he wants a bigger chair with more power, prestige, and taxpayer dollars at his disposal. So let's not get all in a hissy fit. This pension plan isn't going anywhere, but Robert Ghiz is leaving. Yay!

  • Islander
    March 11, 2014 - 18:07

    Steve Myers and the PC Party are all washed up with their infighting and lack of action with the PNP. They have shown they can't be trusted similar to the Ghiz team. This folks is Politics. Just look at the scandal in Ottawa with Harpers gang, nothing done, and nothing will be done. The only victims of all this corruption is the taxpayer.

  • David
    March 11, 2014 - 17:17

    I look forward to Steven Myers and the PC MLA's, past and present, return of their provincial pensions, as we surely can't afford that either. All those increased taxes are helping to pay for those too.

  • Bill McNevin
    March 11, 2014 - 16:34

    Myers is typical of the Tories. He feels that if a person has no money in his retirement years then it is their fault and the government has no obligation to assist them. But Myers also knows that in his retirement years he will have a VERY nice government pension. That is when he has no problem with government helping its people.

  • John G
    March 11, 2014 - 16:15

    Why in the world would anyone object to a decent pension. Steve Myers should talk to the retirees in assisted housing. I'll bet they would straighten out his way of thinking. After they pay their bills there's not enough left over for necessities. Everyone should at least be able to enjoy retirement a little bit. I wouldn't want to be continuously worrying about how to feed myself.

  • Steve
    March 11, 2014 - 15:50

    I'd like to hear the CFIB explain exactly how an employer contributing to a pooled plan is so much better than an employer contributing to the Ontario proposal. Is it that the employer can choose not to participate, thus leaving their employees in the same bind as they are in already (which, given Ms. McGrath-Gaudet's opinions on other issues would hardly surprise me)?

  • paul
    March 11, 2014 - 15:40

    WHERE does it stop . Wes does not get his way with the CPP so now this . We can't take any more . STOP or there will be noone living here . We will all have an Alberta adress and come here for 1 week every month.

  • scott
    March 11, 2014 - 14:48

    Witness to a crime, while I'm not in favour of more money comming from my pocket, at least we will see something for it when we retire. Is that a crime?

  • Quiet Observer
    March 11, 2014 - 10:48

    Once again, Myers and his handlers toe Harper's Party Line.

    • Witness to a crime
      March 11, 2014 - 11:40

      Once again Ghiz and his pack of vandals are trying to pick the pocket of Islanders.