Pension poaching on federal preserves.

That is an interesting strategy. We are supposed to ignore the blunders of the last ten years. Ontario Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne is going to run for re-election as premier on a strategy of fixing federal pensions. Lord knows, the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) needs fixing but this might not be waters in which she should be swimming.

It was 1967 when an Ontario premier last tried a political distraction on federal turf. It was Premier John Robarts who chaired the Confederation for Tomorrow Conference that tried to move Canada’s Premiers toward agreement on Canada’s constitution.  It was an impressive effort. It failed. The unfinished office building in which the meeting was held was a metaphor for the unfinished thinking of the people involved.

Nor has the brain-trust behind Kathleen Wynne thought this pension proposal through. For a plan to supplement the CPP to gain any traction with the voters, it has to cost little, promise much and apply across Canada. The problem is there is no current fix to the CPP that can be accommodated under traditional economic thinking or the current federal government. And Kathleen Wynne’s people are not outside-the-box people.

And she does not seem to be aware that when Ontario voters learn that nothing can change for the first ten years of a new plan, voters will lose interest. It is the old problem of paying forward. We need some faster gratification folks.

Where Kathleen Wynne and her people really fail is their lack of understanding of how their shenanigans could help balkanize our country. That, Canada does not need. We have enough problems with Quebec without trying to prove pequistes such as Quebec Premier Pauline Marois are right. A plan for a high-speed electrified rail corridor from Windsor to Quebec City could do more to bind Quebec with the rest of Canada than any other political strategy.

And if Kathleen Wynne really wants to show her colors as a Canadian federalist, she should address the bigotry of Quebec’s secularism charter. The federal Conservative’s have no understanding nor answer to the charter other than a court challenge. To rely on the courts in this circumstance is to enable Marois to win. That is the condition for separatism that she needs. Ontario has to talk togetherness.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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