Woodsworth started out as a Methodist clergyman in 1896, but had become a social worker in Winnipeg’s North End by 1904. His experience of urban slums convinced him that socialism was the solution to poverty. Despite being fired from his position as a government social researcher in 1917 for being a pacifist and arrested for libel during the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, Woodsworth’s ideals made him a popular Winnipeg politician. His popularity led to his election as the Member of Parliament for Winnipeg North Centre in 1921, a riding that he held until his death.
As a Member of Parliament, Woodsworth consistently campaigned for labour rights, improved social welfare measures and democratic socialism.
Although he failed to make socialism a reality in Canada, he succeeded, in 1926–1927, in persuading Prime Minister Mackenzie King to introduce an old-age pension plan — Canada’s first social welfare legislation — in exchange for providing the votes Mackenzie King needed to stay in power.
Civilization.ca - History of Canadian Medicare - 1914-1929 - J. S. Woodsworth
It's a nightmare vision. A country full of seniors living in poverty and misery.
A country where the old and the poor have no present, and the young have no future.
A nightmare that became even more real today, when the Cons killed an NDP proposal to expand the Canada Pension Plan.
Even though a recent study showed that Canada is the only OECD country where seniors are getting getting poorer, and the government is doing less and less to help them.
Conservatives are losing support among Canadian seniors for refusing to expand the Canada Pension Plan, warns a national seniors group.
On the same day that the Conservative majority voted down an NDP motion calling for CPP expansion, the seniors lobby group CARP released a survey showing Conservative support is slipping among its members.
NDP MP Murray Rankin, who put forward Monday’s motion, said the government’s position is unfortunate given the success of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board at generating high returns at low cost.
“I just find it inexcusable,” he said of the Conservative position, calling the CPP “one of those great success stories in Canada.”
Mr. Rankin noted that it was Mr. Sorenson leading the government’s response and not Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who had urged the provinces and territories in 2010 to support a modest increase to the CPP but was unable to secure enough support.
Liberal MP John McCallum raised Mr. Flaherty’s past comments during Monday’s debate, speculating that the minister “was overruled by his boss,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who Mr. McCallum said has long been a critic of the CPP.
“He does not like the Canada Pension Plan, so I believe that as long as he is the Prime Minister of this country, no time will be the right time for any infinitesimal increase in CPP premiums and benefits,” he said.
Tories vote down CPP expansion as seniors warn of waning support - The Globe and Mail