TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 9, 2012) - Labour activists who have teamed up with seniors, retirees and supporters are currently occupying 21 Tory MP offices across Ontario, while other actions take place elsewhere in Canada. The Harper government's recent threat to cut Old Age Security (OAS) benefits has inflamed a new movement of workers and pensioners, calling itself a movement of "Blue-Grey Power," that is bringing the fight against the Conservative assault on retirement security directly to Tory constituency offices.

"Prime Minister Harper's hypocrisy is stunning. He chose to announce his plans to cut Old Age Security in front of the one percenters in Davos, Switzerland when he knows full well that if he were to retire in 2015, he would have a Platinum-Plated, taxpayer-funded pension of $223,517 a year," said OFL President Sid Ryan, from the sit-in taking place in Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's Whitby constituency office.

At 1:00 pm today, outraged pensioners, soon-to-be pensioners and supporters have resorted to constituency office occupations to demand that Conservative Members of Parliament abandon plans to push back the OAS eligibility age from 65 to 67, or make any reductions to benefits. Instead, they are calling for the Harper government to introduce modest increases to Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions that would double benefits for all retirees and seniors.

Occupations are currently taking place at the following Conservative MP constituency offices:

Hon. Jim Flaherty 701 Rossland Road East, Unit 204, Whitby Jim Freeman 905-431-5607
Hon. Bal Gosal 8500 Torbram Road, Unit 44, Brampton James McDowell 416-587-8809
Kyle Seeback 160 Main Street South, Unit 29, Brampton James McDowell 416-587-8809
Phil McColeman 3-108 St. George Street, Brantford Gary MacDonald 519-751-9371
Hon. Gary Goodyear 1425 Bishop St North Unit 3, Cambridge Len Carter 519-239-7692
Guy Lauzon 621 Pitt Street, Cornwall Elaine MacDonald 613-330-3117
Hon. Michael Chong 5-200 St. Patrick Street E, Fergus Janice Folk-Dawson 519-766-8376
Peter Braid 22 King St. South, Waterloo Len Carter 519-239-7692
Harold Albrecht 153 Country Hill Dr, Unit 2A, Kitchener Len Carter 519-239-7692
Stephen Woodworth 12-300 Victoria Street North, Kitchener Orville Thacker 519-893-3974
Barry Devolin 68 McLaughlin Rd Unit 1, Lindsay James Mulhern 705-344-0287
Susan Truppe 546 King Street, Main Office, London Len Elliott 519-671-9320
Ed Holder 200-390 Commissioners Rd West, London Jim Kennedy 519-697-0360
Hon. Rob Nicholson 2895 St. Paul Ave, Unit 11, Niagara Falls Heather Kelley 905-993-2078
Jay Aspin 100-133 Main Street West, North Bay Henri Giroux 705-471-7746
David Tilson 229 Broadway, Unit 2, Orangeville Primrose Short 519-938-6030
Dean Del Mastro 1875 Lansdowne St W, Peterborough Doug McDonald 705-740-3489
Gary Schellenberger 544 Huron Street, Stratford Dave Jasper 519-801-5409
No Tory MP in Thunder Bay Service Canada, 975 Alloy Drive, Thunder Bay Melanie Kelso 807-620-0396
Jeff Watson 186 Talbot Street South, Essex Dino Chiodo 519-995-3603

"By cutting Old Age Security, Stephen Harper is attacking the most vulnerable Canadians. The majority of seniors are living on $25,000 a year or less after paying a lifetime of taxes. OAS pensions are what pays for food and rent for seniors living on a fixed-income and it helps the others get by with a little bit of dignity," said Orville Thacker, President of the Ontario Federation of Union Retirees (OFUR). "We are fed up with a government that seems committed to undermining basic rights and living standards at every turn. First Harper came after women's rights, then he came after workers' rights, and now he is coming after seniors' rights. He's about to learn the same lesson that seniors taught two Prime Ministers before him: if you touch seniors' rights, you do so at your peril."

"There is no excuse for Prime Minister Harper to cut the meagre incomes of pensioners or consign the working poor to two more years of poverty. Nearly every economist and the government's own Parliamentary Watch Dog, Kevin Page, are forecasting the long-term sustainability of public pensions," said Ryan. "If Harper thinks that he can take on retirees and seniors in this country without a fight from the labour movement, he is sorely mistaken. Harper has touched the third rail of Canadian politics and in doing so he has unleashed a labour and seniors movement of 'Blue-Grey Power' that is prepared to mobilize the public to defend the income security of the retirees of today and tomorrow."

The Ontario Federation of Labour will be working with seniors groups and retirees to host town hall meetings in Ontario communities to provide an opportunity for the public to voice its opposition to the Conservative cuts to Old Age Security. The OFL represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario.

Contact Information:

Sid Ryan
OFL President
416-209-0066 (cell)

Joel Duff
OFL Communications Director
416-707-0349 (cell) ENGLISH/FRENCH