Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s refusal to hold a national summit on pension reform is baffling, Premier Dalton McGuinty said yesterday as he predicted the issue would be intensely debated at the annual premiers’ meeting in Regina this summer.

Canada has an aging population of baby boomers who have not adequately prepared for their retirement and “are going to be in trouble,” especially those without workplace pensions, warned McGuinty.

“Frankly I can’t understand — and I raised it personally with the prime minister a number of times — why he would not want us to begin a national conversation,” he said.

“It’s a really important issue. It is non-partisan. It is national in scope and I believe it demands a national response.”

A spokesman for Harper said yesterday that the prime minister had discussed pension reform with McGuinty and wanted to pursue further talks on the issue, even if it’s not a “national summit” as McGuinty requested.

British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia are also talking about some kind of pension reforms to make sure people can afford to maintain a quality lifestyle when they retire, said McGuinty.

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