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Campaign notebook: Aging populace has big policy implications

Single senior in retirement.


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By CHRIS HANNAY (@channay)

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You've heard of the aging of the Canadian population, as boomers finally reach retirement. Well, it's finally happened: there are now more seniors in Canada than kids.

This has big implications for policy. As prime minister, Stephen Harper raised the age for Old Age Security to 67 from 65, yes, but he also introduced income splitting for seniors, created tax-free savings accounts and changed rules for Registered Retirement Income Funds. Whether or not tax credits do enough, seniors issues have been discussed in the campaign.

Is it all enough for the increasing number of Canadians who are retiring? Ontario is looking into its own provincial addition to the Canadian Pension Plan, and The Globe editorial board has argued for a national enhancement.

The cost of health care will also eat an increasing share of federal and provincial budgets.

Those implications are important, though they may seem obvious. But Canada's changing demographics will have wider effects that we may not immediately think about - even down to how we plan our cities. Here's Environics chief demographer Doug Norris, in an interview with The Globe's Eric Andrew-Gee:

"We're a suburban country in large part … but when you get older into your 70s and 80s, I'm not so sure about suburban living. How do you get to the doctor's?"


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Nik Nanos: "Liberal and Conservative dead heat for first while NDP trails."

> Conservatives: 32.1 per cent (up 0.6 from last week)

> NDP: 26.3 per cent (down 2.8 from last week)

> Liberals: 32.2 per cent (up 0.2 from last week)

> Green: 4.4 per cent (down 0.3 from last week)

> Bloc: 4.6 per cent (up 2.0 from last week)

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The margin of error is 2.8 points. Click here for Nanos methodology.


> TransCanada is trying a new tactic in its (neverending?) battle to get approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

> Participants at a national conference in Alberta on missing and murdered aboriginal women, featuring a discussion hosted by The Globe and Mail, lamented the politicization of the tragedies.

> Stephen Harper says CBC's problem is low ratings. The CBC says it's lack of funding.

> A Conservative-then-Independent-MP-turned-Liberal-candidate is in one of Atlantic Canada's most fascinating races.

> The NDP has started airing anti-Trudeau radio ads.


The Conservatives eke out a 135-seat win, but the other parties aren't far behind: with 102 NDP seats and 100 Liberal seats, any party could end up in power. Try your hand at our simulator and find out what could happen if an election were held today.

Overall, the Conservatives currently have a 55 per cent chance of winning the most seats.


Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is in Quebec City tonight, with cabinet minister Denis Lebel and other local candidates.

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair begins the day with a morning announcement in Iqaluit.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau makes a morning speech at a seniors centre in Surrey, B.C.


EBay Inc. has been lobbying the federal government to reduce the duties people pay on items shipped into Canada, meeting with senior federal officials to call for raising Canada's duty-free threshold on shipped imports. EBay and other proponents of raising the threshold will have to convince the federal government that Canadian retailers wouldn't suffer as a result. The issue is likely to come up for whatever government is in place after the Oct. 19 election.


"Elizabeth May has an effervescence that many find irresistible. Her physical energy is matched only by her love of talking (and writing). She's fighting an uphill campaign, since a Green vote, no matter how much she disputes the fact, can draw a vote from the New Democrats or Liberals, thereby indirectly helping the Conservatives. She has every reason to sometimes feel neglected, but she's a scrapper." – Jeffrey Simpson on the Green Party Leader.

Margaret Wente (Globe and Mail): "If there is one issue that strikes a nerve with Canadians, this is it. "

Lysiane Gagnon (Globe and Mail): "In this federal election campaign, as in many others, the conservative (or rightist) vote might be severely underestimated by pollsters."

Simon Doyle (Globe and Mail): "The voting results of battleground B.C. will be key to which party forms government after election day."

Evan Solomon (Maclean's): "After you get your poll fix, you have to come up with a way to see this whole campaign unfold. There are, fundamentally, two very different strategies at play to win this thing."


TVA hosts a French-language leaders' debate in Quebec on Friday.

Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks continue in Atlanta.

The election is in 19 days.

This newsletter is produced by Chris Hannay and Steve Proceviat.

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