Fact Check: Jagmeet Singh’s Claims On Poilievre’s Supposed ‘Pension Plan Cuts’ Are False

The NDP Leader is claiming Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre will “cut pensions.” There is no truth to the claim.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has unveiled a new lie.

In a video shared on social media, Singh claimed Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is going to “cut pensions.”

“Your parents work hard for their pension plan.

Your grandparents worked hard for their pension plan.

You get up every day and work hard for your pension plan.

And, if Pierre Poilievre thinks he can cut your pension plan – he’s in for a fight.

I won’t back down.”

This is not the first time the NDP has made this claim. In 2022, the NDP accused Poilievre of planning to cut pensions:

“Cutting CPP and EI will hurt you and lets rich CEOs and the companies they head take the money they were supposed to put into your pension and add it to their profits instead.

And what do they do with profits? Pay big bonuses to the big bosses.

Let’s break it down. By cutting CPP and EI:

Workers will save $11 a month, while their pensions and EI gets cut.

Big corporations will take more than half a billion dollars that they were supposed to put in your pension, and increase their bonuses instead.

It’s clear: who does Poilievre’s scheme help? The big bosses and their big bonuses. Not you and your family.”

But what exactly is the NDP talking about here?

Does Pierre Poilievre plan to cut pensions?

Is there any truth to the NDP claim?


The NDP is making a false claim.

Pierre Poilievre is not planning to cut pensions.

But why is the NDP saying this, and why do they think they will get away with it?

Well, the NDP is referring to Pierre Poilievre’s criticism of CPP premium increases in 2022: “It [the federal government] plans to raise both EI and CPP premiums, the paycheque tax, right at a time when we are facing 40-year highs in inflation; all-time highs and increased housing prices,” said Poilievre. He called on the government to halt the increases, which amount to tax hikes.

Both the Liberals & NDP criticized Poilievre and claimed EI & CPP premiums are not taxes. However, a mandatory deduction from your earnings certainly fits the definition of a tax.

Here’s what economist Jack Mintz said at the time:

“For his part, Pierre Poilievre is arguing for tax relief both from carbon taxes and from scheduled hikes in EI and CPP premiums. His criticisms do focus on the typical middle-class family, whose income is close to the median income level. In 2022, CPP payments have increased by over 10 per cent as employer and employee maximum payroll taxes have risen from $3155 to $3600. At the same time, the maximum EI payment increased by $63 for employees and $110 for employers. EI premium rates remained the same but the maximum income level rose from $56,300 to $63,300.”

Mintz noted that there were ways a future government could ease the burden of CPP premium increases without reducing the premiums themselves:

“While Poilievre could freeze EI premiums and eliminate the federal backstop carbon tax, it is neither likely nor desirable that he would reverse the CPP premium hikes. CPP payroll taxes are the outcome of a federal-provincial agreement five years ago to phase in tax increases to pay for an expansion of benefits.

The Conservatives could consider softening the impact of CPP increases, however. Instead of providing a measly credit based on the lowest marginal tax rate (e.g., 20.5 per cent in Ontario), Ottawa could make all CPP contributions deductible, not just those for the enhanced benefits. That only seems fair since all CPP benefits are fully taxed.”

Now, lets take a closer look at this:

“…phase in tax increases to pay for an expansion of benefits.”

If CPP premiums are going up year after year, and benefits increase as premiums go up, then halting an increase means a reduction in future benefits, not current benefits. And that future change is of course offset in the short-term by money not being taken away in the present moment.

Now, there is an argument as to whether reducing the CPP tax is a good idea or not, but to call it a cut is simply incorrect.

A pervasive fallacy

If I tell you that I will give you $100 dollars next year, and then I only give you $90, have I cut your income by $10?

Of course not.

You still have $90 more than you would have otherwise had.

The only cut is in your imagined future income.

Yet, over and over again we see political parties claim their opponents are ‘cutting’ spending when what they really mean is that they are reducing future increases – something entirely different.

It’s like the claim that the Conservatives “cut $35 billion from healthcare funding,” something the NDP & Liberals love to repeat. Yet, healthcare funding went up every year the Conservatives were in office. There were no cuts.

Instead, the Conservatives lowered the rate of future healthcare increases. Again, healthcare funding went up every year by billions of dollars. All that changed was that future increases were lower than the previous trajectory.

It’s the same as the example I used earlier. If a province gets an extra $2 billion in healthcare spending instead of an extra $3 billion, they’ve still received an increase of $2 billion. There was no cut.

A cut would be expecting an extra $3 billion and instead having your budget reduced by $1 billion. That wouldn’t be a $4 billion cut of course, because the $3 billion expected increase doesn’t exist. It would simply be a $1 billion cut.

So, if Pierre Poilievre were to freeze CPP premium hikes, benefits would remain at the level equivalent to the year in which the premiums were frozen. There would be no cuts. Stable funding is not a cut.

Why is the NDP trying to deceive Canadians?

The NDP is facing a significant political challenge. They performed poorly in recent by-elections, with Canadians appearing to polarize more between the Conservatives & the Liberals. Since Justin Trudeau has largely abandoned the classical liberal perspective of the ‘Liberal’ Party and turned it into more of a socialist party, the NDP doesn’t stand out like before. Singh’s decision to prop up Trudeau also means the NDP has less and less of a unique identity or place on the political spectrum.

So, Singh is trying to remedy that by being seen as the most aggressive attacker against the Conservatives. But since Singh shows little interest in abiding by the truth, he’s looking for the cheapest way to launch an attack.

Claiming Poilievre is going to “cut pensions” surely gets attention and it can generate an emotional response in people. It also fits with what many Canadians are willing to believe – having been primed with repeated claims of ‘conservative cuts,’ even though those claims don’t hold up.

To sum things up, Jagmeet Singh and the NDP are trying to take advantage of a pervasive logical fallacy to deceive Canadians and try to shore up their own political position. Singh’s deceptive rhetoric will further contribute to the rise of divisiveness and dishonesty in Canadian politics.

Spencer Fernando

Photo – Twitter


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