Liberals face mounting opposition to seniors' tax credit changes

The Couillard Liberals are facing accusations from the opposition of being insensitive to the reality of seniors, over its planned changes to a tax credit for those aged 65 or older.

"Can the premier finally show some sensitivity to the reality of being retired?" questioned Coalition Avenir Quebec party leader Francois Legault at a press conference on Thursday.

"They clearly attack vulnerable people, vulnerable seniors," echoed CAQ Treasury Board critic Eric Caire, saying the government's plan will cost seniors up to $500 per year. 

Finance Minister Carlos Leitao disagreed with the assessment. 

"That is simply not true," he said. "No one has seen any payment cut." 

"Nothing has been cut," he continued. "Those that were receiving, those who were eligible to receive the tax credit will continue to receive the tax credit." 

Citing increased life expectancy, Leitao says the plan is for the government to increase the age of eligibility for the seniors' tax credit by five years, from 65 to 70, gradually over half a decade.

"In the 1970s the life expectancy of a 65-year-old was about five years. Today the life expectancy of a 65-year-old is at least 15 years, until age 80. So things have changed and we have to adjust," said Leitao.

Premier Philippe Couillard reminded members of the National Assembly during Question Period the proposal can still be evaluated and altered before it is to appear in upcoming budget, due out in March.

with files from CTV Reporter Maya Johnson in Quebec City