Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour
Peterborough and District Labour Council

February 09, 2012 14:32 ET

Occupation Underway at the Office of MP Dean Del Mastro in Peterborough, ON: Seniors, Retirees and Supporters Demand That Tories Protect Public Pensions

PETERBOROUGH, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 9, 2012) - A group of pensioners, soon-to-be pensioners, labour activists and supporters, angry at the Harper Government's announcement that it intends to cut Old Age Security (OAS) benefits, are presently occupying the Constituency Office of Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro at 1875 Lansdowne Street West in Peterborough, Ontario. They are among hundreds of other seniors, retirees, workers and family members who have resorted to holding sit-ins at 21 Ontario Tory constituency offices, to demand that retirees and seniors be elevated out of poverty.

"Our government should be supporting retirees and seniors, not greedy corporations," said Marion Burton, President of the Peterborough and District Labour Council. "Harper is spending billions to reduce corporate taxes but he refuses to call on these same corporations to invest a fraction of their publicly-subsidized savings in pensioners. Only a minor increase in Canada Pension Plan contributions would double CPP benefits for all retirees and seniors."

Outraged constituents have resorted to occupying their local constituency offices to demand that Conservative Members of Parliament abandon plans to push back the OAS eligibility age from 65 to 67, or reduce pension benefits. Instead, they are calling for the Harper government to introduce modest increases to Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions that would double benefits for all retirees and seniors.

"There is no excuse for Prime Minister Harper to cut the meagre incomes of pensioners or consign the working poor to two more years of poverty. Nearly every economist and the government's own Parliamentary Watch Dog, Kevin Page, are forecasting the long-term sustainability of public pensions," said Ryan. "If Harper thinks that he can take on retirees and seniors in this country without a fight from the labour movement, he is sorely mistaken. Harper has touched the 'third rail' of Canadian politics and in doing so he has unleashed a labour and seniors movement of 'Blue-Grey Power' that is prepared to mobilize the public to defend the income security of the retirees of today and tomorrow."

The Peterborough occupation is taking place at 1875 Lansdowne Street West. For a full list of occupations currently taking place in Conservative MP constituency offices across Ontario, visit: www.OFL.ca.

"We are bringing our frustrations directly to the office of Dean Del Mastro because the people in this community are outraged that his government is betraying his own constituents," said Marion Burton. "The Conservatives have no mandate to attack the retirement security of seniors and pensioners. Dean Del Mastro is going to have a fight on his hands in his own backyard."

The OFL represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. OFL President Sid Ryan is the voice of Ontario's labour movement.

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Contact Information

  • Peterborough and District Labour Council
    Marion Burton
    President
    705-313-0723

    OFL Communications
    Joel Duff
    Director
    416-707-0349 (cell) ENGLISH/FRENCH