Since we all know that twitter is not the best place for nuanced debate, I wanted to share my thoughts on a few pressing issues that I have been tweeting about recently . It is much easier to properly explain one’s self in a blog post as opposed to a platform with a 280 character limit.
Two issues I’ve tweeted on are the Liberals’ decision to reverse the OAS age back from 67 to 65, as well as the plan to enhance CPP by raising premiums. On the former , I understand lowering the retirement age back to 65 may be popular, but it is a bad idea for a few reasons. Life expectancy has increased by ten years since the age of retirement was first set at 65 for Old Age Security. With lower birth rates and longer life expectancies in Canada, the ratio of workers to retirees is now 4 to 1, as opposed to 7 to 1 as it once was, and is predicted to be 2 to 1 by 2030. This equates to a smaller labour force, reduced productivity and slower economic growth. A good real world example of this is Japan, where more than 25% of the population is over 65 and they have averaged only 1% growth per year over the last 20 years. As such, most developed countries have raised the age of retirement; even our civil service advised Trudeau against rolling back OAS, and the government’s own report advised them to raise the retirement age. Meanwhile, the IMF, EU, and OECD have advised all developed countries to raise the age of retirement, and most have. Looking at the numbers, raising OAS to 67 would save $10 billion a year, which is a significant amount of money. I understand some in heavy labour jobs and those with health problems may have to retire earlier, but it is better to make an exception for some than to make it the norm for everyone.
This brings me to my second point regarding CPP enhancement. With the proposed changes, if you are close to retirement, you will have to pay higher CPP premiums, but you will not get any enhanced benefits when you retire. Only those currently in their twenties will realize the full benefits of the changes to CPP, whereas the rest of us will have to pay more and only get some back. What is puzzling here politically is that retirement is not likely on the radar of most twenty-somethings. Nevertheless, this will mean less disposable income for the average taxpayer, and since employers must match premiums, it will hurt small businesses who are already struggling with increased regulation and tax burdens. I think that a better alternative would be to raise the retirement age by one year every decade. By the numbers, this means early retirement will be at age 60, averaging at 65, and enhanced at 70 for those born before 1964; 61 early, 66 average, and 71 enhanced for those born between 1964 and 1973; 62 early, 67 average, and 72 enhanced for those born between 1974 and 1983. This would continue until 65 is considered early, 70 is average, and 75 enhanced, which would apply to those born on or after 2004. This guideline would both achieve the goal of an enhanced pension to allow for a more secure retirement, and does so without burdening individuals and businesses with higher premiums.
Quebec Gun Registry
On January 29th, 2019, all Quebecers with non-restricted firearms will be required to register them or risk a fine. So far, only 20% of licenced gun owners have done so and some are even urging a boycott of the registry. In a free society, one has every right to protest and oppose legislation one doesn’t like, as well as vote out the government who adopted it, but I believe the idea of deliberately flouting laws one doesn’t agree with is very dangerous; doing so reduces the effectiveness of laws and implies we can simply opt out of any law we dislike. This is simply a recipe for chaos: by all means, oppose the legislation, but the law should still be followed. I don’t like the idea of the speed limit being only 100 km/hr on the 400 series in Ontario, but if I was driving 120 km/hr and I got a ticket, I would pay up, not refuse to pay because I think it is unjust. I don’t think top marginal rates over 50% are right either, but I will pay the full amount of taxes I am charged, not just what I think I should pay, because it is the proper way to do things, in adherence with our country’s laws. This is not about whether the Quebec gun registry is a good or a bad idea, this is about the notion that when a democratically elected government makes a law and it is upheld by the courts , one is expected to follow it. Of course, I support the right for people to challenge laws they disagree with in court. On January 30th, 2019, I think the Quebec government needs to start issuing fines for those who haven’t registered their firearms, and I would fine those encouraging boycotts with the maximum amount to send a clear message that flouting the law will not be tolerated. The only excuse for not registering would be if a court injunction is successful in delaying its implementation, but that has not happened yet and is unlikely to in the future.
Free Speech on Ontario Campuses
Doug Ford has created a new policy mandating that Ontario campuses without a free speech policy adopt one by January 1, 2019 or risk funding deductions. While I support the principle of free speech, I believe this heavy-handed and should be dropped. Faculty, staff, and students should make the rules on university campuses, not the government. Universities are autonomous institutions; it is important to preserve this and I believe this measure constitutes unnecessary interference. Contrary to the rhetoric, right wing viewpoints are not generally silenced at universities, and only in a few limited cases have they ever been, which tends to get a lot of media attention. Universities should be welcoming places and I believe it is perfectly reasonable, and even desirable, to prevent those who promote intolerance towards others be barred from speaking. This does not prevent debate of controversial topics, it simply ensures that universities function as welcoming places to all people, including marginalized groups that face greater discrimination. For Tories concerned about this, their Conservative campus clubs can raise the issue instead of asking for the heavy hand of the government to come down on it.