O’Toole speaks out of both sides of his mouth on pensions

August 24, 2021

Conservative O’Toole spent career defending large corporations, can workers trust him now to stand up to his Bay St. buddies?

Erin O’Toole’s pensions announcement today is long on rhetoric about concern for workers, but short on real answers to helping workers and pensioners in need.

“Mr. O’Toole and the Conservatives’ platform doesn’t say if workers and pensioners will come before banks and money lenders,” said Canadian Labour Congress President Bea Bruske. “The question working Canadians are asking is: can you really trust Conservative Erin O’Toole, who spent a career defending big corporations, to stand up now to his friends on Bay Street? Will he really tell the banks, who rake in billions in profits, to step aside and let workers go to the front of the line?”

In 2018, O’Toole presented his own bill on commercial bankruptcies, but it would actually have allowed executive bonuses to rise by a factor of ten once a company entered creditor protection.

“Conservative Erin O’Toole’s rhetoric just doesn’t match his record. He has repeatedly failed to support pensioners – and even wrote a law to make it easier for corporations to walk away from pension obligations,” said Bruske. “Workers and pensioners, who have given decades of blood, sweat and tears to these companies, should stand at the front of the line. It’s their money, their savings at stake. Yet when Sears pensioners or Stelco pensioners needed help, time and again Conservatives failed to stand up.”

Bruske noted that when working people and Canada’s unions came together to fight to enhance Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) benefits, through Bill C-26, O’Toole repeatedly said: “There is no retirement crisis in Canada.”

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of O’Toole’s proposal to divert pension contributions away from the CPP and into individual savings accounts managed by the big banks – paving the way to privatizing public pensions.

And as cabinet minister under Stephen Harper, O’Toole went along with cuts to veterans’ services and attacked the public employee’s union for standing up for veterans while Conservatives spent $700,000 in court costs trying to clawback pension and disability benefits.

Here is O’Toole’s record on helping workers:
• voted to make it harder to refuse dangerous work.
• voted to make it harder for us to organize, and easier for employers and the government to pry into union work.
• voted for unfair trade deals that cost thousands of good manufacturing jobs then lied to defend them.

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