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Billythreefeathers
01-23-2015, 04:10 PM
Kelly McParland: Justin Trudeau’s hidden agenda

http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/01/23/kelly-mcparland-justin-trudeaus-hidden-agenda/

While the federal Liberals continue to maintain strict silence over the details of their election platform, some worrisome elements are beginning to slip out.

Liberal finance critic Scott Brison revealed elements of the plan to Postmedia’s Lee Berthiaume in London, where the party is holding a caucus retreat. Referring to a recently-announced agreement between the Quebec government and the Caisse de Dépot et Placement, he suggested the Liberals see Canadian pension plans as a convenient source of money to finance the party’s ambitious infrastructure program.

Vote-rich Ontario ‘needs a partner in Ottawa,’ Justin Trudeau says as Liberals plot election plan

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau all but accused the Conservative government of abandoning Canadians in hard-hit manufacturing regions as he kicked off a two-day caucus retreat in London, Ont. on Tuesday.

“The people of southwestern Ontario are amazingly resilient and have demonstrated that moving beyond a manufacturing-based economy is something that they’re willing to do,” Trudeau told a room full of Liberal MPs.
The Liberals have made clear that they view a national program to rebuild roads, bridges and transit as a key means of stimulating job-creation and economic growth. Although they have attached no firm figure to the plan, the party approved a resolution in March calling for spending of up to 1% of GDP a year, or about $20 billion. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, an ally of federal leader Justin Trudeau, this week argued for combined federal and provincial spending of $100 billion a year.

The challenge is where to find the money, without pushing the country deep into deficit again. Mr. Brison hinted at the party’s thinking when he told Mr. Berthiaume much of the work could be done “off the government balance sheet” by tapping funds from pension plans, including the Canada Pension Plan, into which all working Canadians contribute.


“There are other ways of working with the pension funds to do something really big on infrastructure and at the same time create a more competitive economy,” Mr. Brison said.

“If you look at the CPP [investment board], Omers, Teachers, AIMCO – pension funds in Canada are building infrastructure around the world. Is there the potential to engage them, and to engage global pension funds, in helping us to rebuild our infrastructure in Canada? I believe there is that potential.”

Chris Wattie / Reuters
Chris Wattie / ReutersLiberal MP Scott Brison.
He referred specifically to the Quebec agreement, under which the Caisse, Canada’s second-biggest pension fund manager after the CPP, agreed to take on ownership of selected government infrastructure projects, which it will plan, finance, execute and operate. In effect the province is privatizing projects before they’re built, but always with the same owner.

As Mr. Brison noted, pension funds often invest in infrastructure such as toll roads, airports or other revenue-generating projects. They are seen as less risky and more predictable than financial markets. As the National Post editorialized recently, there is no problem with this as long as the fund has the ability to operate wholly independent of the government, and is able to make decisions based solely on their potential to generate a maximum return for the pensioners it serves. But there’s real reason to doubt this would be the case in the Liberal scheme.

Pension plans exist for the benefit of the pensioners, not for governments in search of cheap and easy capital pools.
The Caisse has long had a close and co-operative relationship with the government, unique among Canadian provinces. Other provinces should be wary of adopting a similar practice. Ontarians already have reason to be concerned at Ms. Wynne’s plan to introduce a new Ontario-only retirement plan, which her government says could be used to provide capital for “Ontario-based projects.”

Pension plans, it needs to be repeated, exist for the benefit of the pensioners, not for governments in search of cheap and easy capital pools. While Mr. Trudeau will no doubt insist his Liberals would maintain a strict hands-off approach to the CPP, allowing it to make investment decisions free from government influence, recall that previous Liberal governments also pledged to abolish the GST, enforce the Kyoto protocol and create a national daycare system. None of which came to pass. Governments routinely break promises made while out of power, particularly where finances are concerned. There is no reason to believe Mr. Trudeau’s Liberals would be any different.

Opponents long claimed Prime Minister Stephen Harper harboured a “hidden agenda.” Now we know the Liberals are the ones with the covert plan: to use Canadians’ pensions as a handy means to finance election promises. Canadians considering a vote for Mr. Trudeau may want to consider whether they’re willing to bet their retirement income on him.

Billythreefeathers
01-23-2015, 04:12 PM
Please let this be part of the liberals election platform, to fund everything they can think of,

Edward Teach
01-23-2015, 04:55 PM
Ummm...for him to have a hidden agenda, that would mean he would actually have to have...an agenda.

conger
01-26-2015, 09:12 AM
I don't think it's exactly a "hidden" agenda. This kind of financial management is typical liberal.
Chretien had already gone after the CPP when he was PM and pissed away a big chunk of the fund in bad investments.
Liberals will do what they have always done. Spend our money on a bunch of feel good stuff to buy votes, build a bigger government with lots more bureaucrats and sink us deep into debt. History repeats.

Swampdonkey
01-26-2015, 10:27 AM
Canada needs Ross Perot.

Foxer
01-26-2015, 10:36 AM
I don't think a lot of people will be comfortable with this. And i'm seriously doubting that it will be seen as 'great economic stratagey'. Worse off, it's complex. It's difficult to explain complex financing and such to an electorate during a 6 week election. It's very easy for people to say "there's too much I don't know - i'm not comfortable with this at all".