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Renaud Brossard

A UQAM graduate and former student activist, Renaud Brossard is the Executive Director for Generation Screwed, a non-partisan youth initiative dedicated to raising awareness and mobilizing university students to stand up to big-government in order to reclaim their financial futures. Learn more about Generation Screwed at

Old Age Insecurity

At 150, Canada is getting older, and so is its population. For the first time in our country’s history, there are more seniors living in Canada than there are kids. This new reality puts the very solvency of some of the biggest government programs at risk. While we have known this reality was bound to happen for quite some time, the government has not taken any measure to ensure adequate funding would be available for such programs, choosing to ignore a problem which, every day, is getting increasingly costly to deal with. Among those programs are the three key income programs for seniors: Canada Pension Plan, the Guaranteed Income Supplement, and Old Age Security. The first, Canada Pension Plan, is currently partially funded through a dedicated fund, which leads to a whole other set of issues to be tackled in another article. The second, Guaranteed Income Supplement, while unfunded, only covers seniors living with very low annual incomes and is a much smaller expenditure compared to the third and last one: Old Age Security, or OAS. In 2015-2016 alone, OAS accounted for roughly three quarters of all transfers to seniors made from general government revenue. This program alone costs over $35 billion every year and is funded through the very same year’s taxes! While it is true OAS helps numerous low-income seniors get by every month, it is far from true that every OAS recipient that is in a low-income situation. Currently, seniors making less than $73,756 get full benefits regardless of their pre-retirement incomes. The benefits get clawed back so slowly that one can receive partial benefits up to an annual income of $119,400 per year. That can hardly be described as low-income. Just in 2014, there were nearly a million people eligible for OAS making over $50,000 per… Read More

Why “America First” Is Really “Americans Last”

NOTE: This article does not reflect the opinions of Generation Screwed, but only those of its author, Renaud Brossard. Imagine this scene: you’re in rustbelt America. Manufacturing jobs around you keep disappearing. You shop at the local Wal-Mart because, let’s be honest, that’s pretty much the only thing you’ve been able to afford since the local plant shut down. In the aisle, you see a vacuum cleaner just like the one that used to be made in the neighbouring town. You lift the price tag and, where once proudly stood the words “Made in America,” you see “Made in Mexico.” You can’t help but let out a sigh as you think back to only a few years ago, when your life plan seemed so simple—so perfect. After you graduated high school, all you had to do to ensure a secure financial future was apply to your local factory, which was expanding massively at the time. The application was nothing more than a formality, and you would get a good, middle-class job that was guaranteed for pretty much the rest of your life. You wouldn’t be rich, but you would have a good life. As you put the vacuum cleaner back in its place, you can’t help but miss those simpler times. When you put yourself in those shoes, it’s easy to understand the appeal of protectionism. What could be described as “America First” policies, or their local equivalents across the world, start making sense to you. Populist movements, both from the left and right, have been spouting the same rhetoric for years, although the terms they use vary. It culminated in the United States with Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump both promising to bring back manufacturing jobs to the U.S. and to drastically cut down on trade ties around the… Read More

We’ll Deal With It… Tomorrow

Just yesterday, Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office (FAO) released another report detailing how Ontario’s current fiscal policy is unsustainable and that the government is unprepared to face the costs associated with an aging population. There’s really nothing new here. We’ve been saying it for years, opposition parties have been saying it for years, the Big Three (Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch) have consistently degraded Ontario’s credit rating and even the current government has found it crucial to give the impression that they have balanced the budget this year. Why are we still surprised then? What is the most shocking about this latest report is it proves just how good politicians are at identifying an issue, but how clueless they are when comes the time to find solutions. For well-over a decade now, we’ve known that Canada has an aging population. We’ve known that there would be fiscal challenges associated with it. As more and more Canadians retire, we’re going to have more people needing more expensive medical care and senior benefits programs, and a smaller working population to support those services. We’ve known all of that for a long time. By now, we’d think we would have figured out a plan to deal with that or, at the very least, started putting money aside for when that day comes. If you expect to get a pay cut, the natural thing to do is to try and put money aside, and reduces your expenses or find new revenue sources. For politicians, though, even those who campaigned on it across the country or those who said they wanted to protect our nation’s future and ensure our prosperity, it seems as though that message never got across. Ontario’s Finance Minister, Charles Sousa, gave us one of the best possible examples in his reaction… Read More

Plea for a Balanced Budget

It’s official. We will have a new government in Ottawa. I should start by congratulating Mr. Trudeau for what I believe to be a superbly executed campaign. After all, it’s been less than two weeks since the Liberals started coming in first in most polls, while they were the third party at the beginning of the campaign.   While Generation Screwed is a non-partisan group, that does not make it apolitical. Due to the very nature of our movement, we constantly monitor what our MPs are doing in parliament and speak out against what we find troubling. As the saying goes, if we don’t take care of politics, politics will inevitably take care of us.   There is, as a matter of fact, one crucial issue right now which we feel should be front and center at this time: the three years of deficit that were announced by the Liberals. Not only will this policy be extremely harmful to future generations, but we can’t find any logical explanation for it.   Trudeau tells us that we need those three years of deficit to stimulate the Canadian economy. While it is true that we are in a technical recession, most economists agree that our economy is already stabilizing and that it should be back on track as we speak. They are only waiting for next quarter’s data to say that it is indeed finished. All that was accomplished without the need for an additional enormous stimulus package! Is Trudeau’s economic wisdom that we should run deficits when things are going well, and run enormous ones when things are bad? If so, that is the very definition of fiscal irresponsibility.   Those deficits total 25 billion dollars on three years, according to the Liberal Party of Canada’s estimates. Those 25 billion dollars,… Read More

How we, millennials, have become Generation Screwed

When examining the current state of affairs of our country’s public finances, it’s not hard to see what went wrong. With over $1.2 trillion in public debt and $3 trillion more in unfunded liabilities, past generations have gone on unrepentant spending binges and are leaving us with the bill. But how did we get here? The answer itself is twofold: out-of-control spending and lack of accountability. To an extent, a degree of inefficient spending in government in unavoidable. It is impossible to know with certainty how effective a program will be before it is enacted and the results observed. The issue is when we spend money on ineffective programs and fail to cut them when we discover their ineffectiveness. It can be large white elephants such as the Montreal Olympic Stadium, which was 1,990% over budget, or the defunct SOQUIP, a Quebec crown corporation aimed at developing the oil industry in the province. Initiatives such as these, and countless others like them, have added to our debts year and year with only marginal benefits to taxpayers. Politicians end up leaving more and more debt for generations to come, forcing the young and as yet unborn to co-sign for their unlimited lines of credit. Lack of accountability, on the other hand, leads to a more sinister component of our government spending problem: corruption. Due to our imperfect access to information legislation, non-profits and citizen groups have a hard time finding out exactly how much has been spent on what and why. Unsurprisingly, this leads to a constant cycle of public inquiries into corruption and abuses of power. In Quebec, these inquiries come and go every 20 to 30 years, the latest being the Charbonneau inquiry. We now know taxpayers have been overbilled by up to 30% for countless public works contracts.… Read More