Mr. Chair, I think I will move all four of them, explain the rationale for all four of them and appeal your decisions as they come.
I'll start off by saying, of course, that this committee has the right to do the right thing in terms of this legislation. When we talk about royal recommendations, in the past in minority governments, certainly with the famous Jack Layton budget, the government provided the royal recommendation for substantial changes in the initial budget when it became clear that, without those substantial changes, it would not pass the test of getting through Parliament. I'm very confident in saying that it is up to the committee to decide whether these amendments should be voted on and carried forward.
The four amendments in question obviously address what we have just heard is a profound discrepancy, that 57% of Canadian seniors are under the age of 75, and that the majority of Canadian seniors live at what can only be stated as close to poverty level, $30,000 a year. That is a profoundly difficult income level, especially when we see the extent to which COVID and the pandemic has hit Canadian seniors.
There is simply no sense or logic to what the government is proposing, that seniors 75 and over get a 10% bump in the OAS and a $500 bonus, when Canadians under 75 need it as desperately. There's just no sense, no logic. I think we've heard from our questions very clearly that the statistics and the facts show that, for the committee to do the right thing, we must extend the OAS increase to all seniors and provide the one-time supports of $500 to all seniors.
That is a slam dunk. Canadians who are listening to us would all agree that this is the right thing to do. Canadian senior groups have all intervened, including at this committee, saying that this makes absolutely no sense or logic. It penalizes and hurts seniors who are under the age of 75. For us to force them to spend 10 years before they can get a slightly more adequate income.... It is beyond belief that a government would propose that and that a finance committee would say, “That's okay.”
I have certainly heard, from questions from my colleagues, that they understand the dynamic. We cannot discriminate among seniors. We now know that the imperative for seniors under 75, as well, is as deep and profound as it is for seniors 75 and over.
That is why these four amendments would provide the $500 support to all seniors and ensure that the OAS increase goes to all seniors. I think we've heard compelling testimony in the answers to our questions. Even if the government uses the procedural trick of saying that it's going to withhold the royal recommendation, we should be pushing it to provide that royal recommendation, as it has done in the past and as the government has the right, and I would say, the responsibility in this case to do.