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NDP Seniors and Pension critics hit the road with message: Don't touch OAS

Illustration by Anthony Jenkins / The Globe and Mail

Anthony Jenkins

NDP Seniors and Pensions critics are heading off on a cross country tour to build opposition to the Conservative roll-back on the Old Age Security.

Irene Mathyssen, critic for Seniors, as well as deputy Seniors Critic Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe and Pensions Critic Wayne Marston willing be hitting up various cities – Toronto, Brampton, Vancouver, Darmouth among others – starting this weekend. Ms. Mathyssen said this is the first of various community outreach events the NDP plan to do to.

"The OAS is sustainable," Mr. Marston said. "That message has to be delivered loud and clear."

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It might be a bit premature given the Conservatives haven't spelled out the details of their plan for the OAS.

But if cuts must be made to the budget, Ms. Mathyssen said the federal government should cut spending on corporate tax breaks, new F-35 fighter jets and prisons — not pension programs. "They are making the wrong decisions," she said.

And while the Conservatives have repeatedly said it won't affect seniors in the present, Mr. Marston said his phones have been ringing off the hooks with concerned seniors wondering if they will be affected.

"Failure to make important decisions now will put Old Age Security in jeopardy for future generations," said Alyson Queen, the director of communications for Diane Finley, minister of human resources.

She added the government was conducting its own consultations of seniors.

"We will do what nearly every other advanced country has done - we will ensure the sustainability of our public pension system."

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