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Zach Paikan

Don’t Stick My Generation with Your Bad OAS Policy

Pierre Trudeau gave us the Charter, multiculturalism, official bilingualism, and the Canada Health Act.Brian Mulroney: the GST and free trade with the United States.Jean Chrétien's government slew the largest deficit in Canadian history and then recorded five straight budgetary surpluses while paying down federal debt from 70 per cent to 30 per cent, introduced the Clarity Act and signed the Kyoto Protocol.Stephen Harper's majority government-winning predecessors have set the bar relatively high when it comes to leaving a legacy filled with lasting achievements. So what will Harper's legacy be?Over the course of his first six years as prime minister, the only lasting achievement on the policy front that seems to come to mind is the rebuilding of Canada's military, coupled with significant leadership roles for our country within NATO in Libya and Kandahar.However, Harper's speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos at last provides us with a glimpse of the Prime Minister's vision for Canada. It's a vision that includes tackling some of the major challenges of the decades to come: pension reform, immigration reform, the need to aggressively pursue free trade, and the need to seek closer ties with Asian markets.It's easy to criticize Harper regarding this speech, beyond criticizing the content itself: Where are the details? Why has he only started to tackle these issues head-on now as opposed to six years ago? Why did he give this speech in Davos instead of in Parliament? Why was there no consultation with the provinces and with the Canadian people on these important issues beforehand?But when it comes to the content, one proposal has clearly been attracting more media attention than others: the possibility of increasing the age of eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS).The need for reducing the cost of OAS is well known: By 2030, if no… Read More