Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Professor R. Matthews
This study introduces a methodology designed to evaluate the extent to which liberal-democratic and marxist-critical ideological values are reflected in the development and formulation of public old age pensions in Canada. Two taxonomies based on the values of equality, freedom, and justice were constructed. The first provides a model of features one would expect to find in a pension system based on the liberal-democratic assumptions. The other provides features one would expect to find if the marxist-critical challenges were valid. The empirical historical factors claimed by the liberal-democratic model to be associated with the introduction of old age pensions in 1927, universal pensions in 1951, and contributory pensions in 1965 were analyzed and the extent to which they reflected the appropriate values determined. The analysis was extended to the pension debate which emerged in the 1980s and culminated with the report issued by the Parliamentary Task Force on Pension Reform in December of 1983. It was concluded that public pensions in Canada reflected some of the values of the first ideology. However the liberal-democratic model failed to explain at least three further aspects of pension legislation. First, there was reason to believe that not all possible factors associated with pension legislation had been considered. Second, the framework could not explain why some values received greater priority at different historical periods. Third, there was no logical explanation for the persistence of poverty among specific groups of elderly. These issues were examined to determine the extent to which they reflected the challenges offered by the marxist-critical ideology. From the two analyses it was concluded that the development of pensions in Canada did reflect both the assumptions of the liberal-democratic ideology and the challenges of the marxist-critical. In general it was concluded that a comprehensive analysis of public pensions in Canada can be achieved only when both ideological models have been utilized.
O'Donnell, Helen Ann Nancy, "A Diagnosis by Ideology: Ideological Perspectives on the Formation of Pension Policy in Canada" (1984). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 1457.