One of my Caucus colleagues started a recent blog post wisely using the famous Winston Churchill quote: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on”. Every few weeks, my office receives emails and phone calls from constituents who have heard about “Bill C-428”, a Liberal Private Members Bill to amend the Old Age Security Act to reduce the residency requirement and allow newcomers to receive OAS after just 3 years in Canada.
Cornwall - March 18, 2015 - One of my Caucus colleagues started a recent blog post wisely using the famous Winston Churchill quote: "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on".
Churchill stated this well before email and social media existed, so today a lie - or incorrect information - can likely travel ten times around the world before truth or accuracy can weigh in.
One of the most difficult and frustrating parts of my role is combating the major, continual distribution of misleading information on issues of the day. These innuendos and untruths can live on the internet forever and continue to confuse and confound people for years after they were first posted.
I am using some of the same details and information from my colleague’s article to debunk some of these chain emails and provide accurate information that I hope spreads instead.
Every few weeks, my office receives emails and phone calls from constituents who have heard about “Bill C-428”, a Liberal Private Members Bill to amend the Old Age Security Act to reduce the residency requirement and allow newcomers to receive OAS after just 3 years in Canada.
The chain email or posting warns that a vote in the House of Commons is imminent and urges people to contact their Member of Parliament to tell them to oppose this measure.
Here are some key facts for you though:
- There is no such legislation currently tabled in the House of Commons
- Bill C-428 was from a previous session of Parliament and it was never even called for a vote, so it died when the 2011 election was called
- Ruby Dhalla and Bob Rae, the Liberal Members of Parliament who tabled the Private Members Bill years ago, were respectively defeated and retired, since the last election
- Our Conservative government, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, are strongly opposed to the idea and committed to defeating it should the opposition parties introduce the Bill again for a vote
A second key misleading and false email chain is regarding the Canadian Pension Plan and its sustainability. The email claims that the federal government has orchestrated a ‘ponzi scheme’ and that the CPP retirement system is near bankrupt. This email, too, could not be further from the truth.
Here are some simple, key facts:
- It was recently estimated that the current CPP contribution rate is sufficient to keep the program sustainable for the next 75 years
- The CPP is a stable, well-designed plan that is portable from province to province and fiscally sustainable over the long run. It provides benefits to over 4 million people and future coverage for the 12 million workers currently contributing to the Plan
- The CPP is a "contributory" plan. This means that all costs are covered by the financial contributions paid into the Plan by employees, their employers and self-employed people, and from interest earned on the investment of that money
- The Canada Pension Plan is not funded through general tax revenues
It is normally seniors who are most upset about these two false emails and it is understandable why. They helped build Canada and contributed over their lifetime to receive benefits like CPP and OAS from the government. I very strongly agree.
My commitment has always been to make sure that our government programs, like CPP and OAS, are sustainable for the future and are available for Canadians for the very long-term. And without a doubt, they are in excellent financial position.
Hopefully, this column sets the record straight on a few items, but if you ever receive a chain email that causes your blood to boil about one issue or another, please just contact my office as we are here to try and set the record straight wherever possible.
And please do not forward these false chain emails. Like my other colleagues who have written on this, it will be great if we see a few less people upset by these scams each week.