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Justin Trudeau pension plan could eliminate need for Ontario version
June 25, 2015
By Richard J. Brennan

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says a Grit government would increase CPP benefits because he says Canadians deserve to retire with dignity.

That could preclude Ontario having to bring in a separate provincial plan as promised by the Wynne government in last year’s election.

“What the most important thing to me is that we do move towards an enhancement of the CPP,” Trudeau told a Toronto Star editorial board meeting Thursday.

Trudeau said the Canada Pension Plan is one of the most successful examples of the government doing something right.

“The Canada Pension Plan needs to be enhanced and strengthened ... we will work on it right away,” he said.

The Harper Conservative government so far has declined to improve benefits for CPP recipients, which Premier Kathleen Wynne says has forced the province to bring in its own plan so that workers without pension plans of any sort can get by after they retire.

Asked if he agrees with NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair that Toronto is the most important city in Canada, Trudeau said: “Sure.”

Asked to elaborate, the Liberal leader said Toronto is an important driver of the economy that has “suffered through a (federal) government that has, for political reasons, chosen not to engage as a partner with the provincial government.

“We have a government that has neglected Toronto,” he said, adding Toronto’s greatest strength is its diversity and successful communities, “contributing to a greater whole.”

He also lavished praise on the city’s efforts on arts and culture. “What you guys have been able to achieve here around various festivals, around an ebullience of the artistic community is very impressive for this Montrealer.”

The federal Liberals have not yet released detailed urban policies. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in Toronto last week pledging that, if re-elected, his government will pay one-third of Mayor John Tory ’s $8 billion SmartTrack transit plan.

Trudeau said this government is good at announcing money with fine print and long timelines so the “money never actually lands” with municipalities. He said he will announce details of “partnership” with municipalities, “specifically in Toronto,” on transit and more.

But money will flow in ways that make sense, not for the political benefit of the federal government, he said.

“It’s not up to the federal government to decide which lines on the map are the right ones, or where those lines should go,” Trudeau said.

The Liberal leader answers questions on a range of topics, from electoral reform and political advertising to free trade deals.