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View Gérard Deltell Profile
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2016-11-28 12:21 [p.7291]
Madam Speaker, before I get into the substance of the debate, I would like to draw the members' attention to the fact that I am wearing the prostate cancer tie. As members are aware, November is also known as “Movember”, a month dedicated to raising awareness about prostate cancer.
Quebec has had a wonderful initiative in place since 2010 to support the Fondation du CHU de Québec, which works on prostate cancer research and prevention. Since 2010, a tie has been available for purchase for men to wear to show their support, which is what I am doing today.
This tie is a Surmesur boutique signature design, and this initiative is supported by Pierre Jobin, TVA's new anchor. I applaud him for his involvement, and I want to thank everyone in Quebec for wearing the tie for prostate cancer.
We are here today to talk about Bill C-26, and you tabled all the amendments that we Conservatives proposed, with the support of my colleague, the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola.
I want to pay my respects to you, Madam Speaker, because I have never heard my name so many times in such a short time. I am quite sure that my parents are very proud of that.
We are talking today about the Canada pension plan. It is crystal clear, because there is a huge difference between the vision of the government and our vision. The vision of the government is to pick up more money from the pockets of the people, to pick up more money from the pockets of business owners and essentially those who create wealth and create jobs, whereas our view is to give more tools to people to make their own choices on what they believe is important and to give them the tools to put money aside for retirement.
That is why we object so strongly to Bill C-26. Our parties have two opposing views. At least that much is clear. In politics, sometimes we find some good points in things that we must nevertheless oppose, and vice versa. Sometimes we find that kind of balance in politics.
In this instance, the matter is crystal clear. On the one hand, there is the Liberal vision, which involves taking more money out of Canadians' pockets. On the other hand, there is our vision, which, in contrast, involves giving people tools that enable them to make their own choices regarding saving for retirement based on their own priorities, their income, and their way of life.
Bill C-26 essentially seeks to increase the contributions that workers currently make to CPP. We are currently being taxed roughly 9.9% and the bill would increase that rate to 11.9%.
In other words, this means that the average worker will pay up to $1,000 more a year. For business owners, this means an extra $1,000 per employee. That is why we believe this is not the right thing to do. The government picking taxpayers' pockets and charging business owners more money is bad for the economy. We will have the opportunity to come back to this with some serious statistics to show the consequences.
For seniors, this bill does not change anything. They will not get a penny more and that is a fact. The other thing is that we will have to wait not two, five, 10, or 20 years, but 40 years before this measure takes effect. At the risk of being ageist, I have to say that many of my colleagues will no longer be here in 40 years. I am 52 now, which means I will be 92. I have good genes. My parents are 92 and 93 and in good health. I might be lucky, but one never knows.
People will have to wait 40 years, or two generations, before there is a direct, tangible, and real impact. That is a long time. While they wait, workers and business people will pay even more, which is not a good thing.
We recognize that there are still some seniors living on low incomes today; however, the situation has greatly improved. In 1970, about one in three retirees were living on a low income, compared to 3% today. That is quite the improvement and it is due to the personal savings measures that we established.
The amount saved by Canadians is an important factor. The best way to improve our situation is to save, and Canadians have saved more over the years. In 1990, people saved 7.7% of their income, whereas today they save about twice as much, or 14.1%.
There have been two improvements over the years: the improvement in the situation of seniors and the increase in Canadians' savings. That is why we, the Conservatives, want to move in that direction. We want to provide Canadians with stronger, more responsive, more pertinent, and more effective tools that enable individuals to make their own decisions, according to their conscience, and based on their priorities, income, and choices that suit them. The government must provide savings tools rather than taking more money out of people's pockets.
This bill will be detrimental to the economy. We, the Conservatives, are not the ones saying so. I am pointing this out today, but I am basing what I say on the conclusions of the Department of Finance, which found in a study that this would negatively impact all vectors of the economy. It forecasts reductions in employment, GDP, private investment, disposable income, and personal savings. Those would be the results of Bill C-26.
Baseball players get three strikes and then they are out. This bill has five strikes against Canadians and the country's economy. Not only does this bill take $1,000 out of people's pockets and charge business owners $1,000 more per employee, it also affects the five key drivers of job creation, savings, and wealth.
We find that unacceptable. That is why we strongly oppose Bill C-26 and why we introduced 69 amendments to eliminate 69 clauses. It makes sense. The amendments that were read earlier show our fierce opposition to every hyphen, semicolon, and letter that do not belong in this bill.
Now let us talk about some things that are quite interesting and important about the future, which is the retirement age.
As members know, people's health has improved. When Canada decided to implement the Canada pension plan a few decades ago in the 1960s, the reality was not the same as today. In the 1960s, the life expectancy of men was 68, but today it is 79. It is 11 years more than when the Canada pension plan was tabled. It is along the same track for women, whose life expectancy in the 1960s was 74 and today is 83. Therefore, the health of people is better and people live longer.
However, the government decided a month ago to cancel the previous government's decision to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67 and return it to 65. This was one of the worst economic decisions made by the current government. There are so many bad decisions, but one of the worst for its long-term effects is its change to the retirement age.
In 2012, when the previous Conservative government addressed this issue, for sure it was very courageous in addressing what was a very difficult issue, and for sure realistic and responsible, because it was the right thing to do and we did it with pride. Unfortunately, the current government has failed to recognize the reality of that. This is why today it will cost Canada billions of dollars more. The current government has failed to recognize the reality of the fact that people live longer, and with that, we can achieve so much more.
Given the current circumstances, lowering the age of retirement from 67 to 65 is one of the worst decisions this government has made.
In 2012, the Conservative government made a courageous decision that was not easy to explain to Canadians. However, we made it with honour and dignity because it was realistic and extremely important for Canada's economic future. Unfortunately, this government decided to reverse that decision and change the age of retirement from 67 back to 65.
That does not make any sense, particularly when we take into account the fact that there is a longer life expectancy. When the Canada pension plan was designed in the 1960s, life expectancy was 68 years for men and 74 years for women. Today, the life expectancy of men is 79, while women can expect to live to 83.
Since Canadians have a longer life expectancy and are in better health, they can continue to work longer. However, this government decided to bring the age of retirement back to 65.
The sad part is that this was not an easy thing for the Conservatives to do. We recognize that. It was a politically difficult decision to make. However, that was what had to be done, and the measure was implemented. It became a fait accompli, and the public accepted that decision.
However, now, the government is reversing that decision, which is sad because it will have a major impact on the rest of the economy.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2016-11-28 12:33 [p.7293]
Madam Speaker, the member across the way is quite wrong in his assessment.
First, the member needs to realize that the Liberal Party platform recognized that what Stephen Harper did when he was prime minister and decided, when overseas, to increase the age of retirement from 65 to 67 was just wrong. Canadians knew it was wrong. We could afford it. Parliamentary secretaries and others knew it was a bad policy decision. This government has reversed that Harper decision. We are saying that people should be able to collect OAS at 65. This is a positive.
With reference to the bill itself, there is a clear difference. This is a government that understands that we also have to think of future generations, for those who are in the workplace today, and who are retiring. We want to make sure that they have money in a retirement plan through the CPP.
From listening to the debate, one could conclude that the Conservatives, on the other hand, do not support the CPP. Would the member not recognize that the very same arguments the Conservatives are using today to say no to Bill C-26 could have been used to get rid of the CPP in the first place?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2016-11-28 12:34 [p.7293]
Madam Speaker, the member is all wrong. First, we are attacking Bill C-26 because it is a tax increase, not the principle of the CPP. We do support the principle. The reality is that it will cost people billions of dollars more, as the Liberal government will pick 1,000 bucks from the pockets of people. This is totally unacceptable.
Second, when he talks about the fact we decided to raise the age of eligibility to 67, that was the real thing to do. We had the courage to do that and we are proud of it. Why? It is because it would otherwise cost the Canadian economy $11 billion by 2030. That is a shame.
He talked about the fact he was elected under the promise of an increased CPP. Let me remind him that he was also elected with the promise of a small deficit of $10 billion. It is three times that amount. Shame on him.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2016-11-28 12:36 [p.7293]
Madam Speaker, there is a clear difference between the fact that we Conservatives believe in the will of the people and the NDP believes in the action of the government. I do respect that, but it is not where we stand.
For us, it is better to give tools to people to make their own choices to put money aside for their retirement.
For us, the worst way to do it is to give the government the power to put its hands into the wallets of people and to pick out $1,000 a year of what they earn. Also, it is not good, as far as we are concerned, to charge those who create wealth, who create jobs, $1,000 more for every employee. It will have a bad effect on so many issues. It is the wrong thing to do.
View Tom Lukiwski Profile
Madam Speaker, before I begin my remarks on Bill C-26, let me first offer my personal congratulations to everyone in the Ottawa Redblacks organization for a great Grey Cup victory yesterday. It was one of the more exciting games I have seen. A special shout out to Henry Burris, formerly of the Saskatchewan Rough Riders, who played a fantastic game. If that is the last game he plays in this league, it is a fitting exist. It was a magnificent performance.
I have some comments to make about Bill C-26, and, quite frankly, they are extremely critical.
Let again remind members of the definition of a tax. In essence, that is what is contained in Bill C-26. A tax is defined as “A compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers' income and business profits, or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions”.
Let us take that definition and examine what is contained in Bill C-26.
Bill C-26 purports to have CPP premiums increased. Are they going to be increased voluntarily or is it compulsory? It is compulsory. Workers and employers alone have no say in the matter.
Is it levied upon workers' incomes and business profits? Most assuredly, it is. Both employers and employees are going to be forced into paying increased premiums.
Therefore, I would suggest, by anyone's definition, that Bill C-26 is a tax. It is a tax increase. It is a business and payroll tax. This is the worst time in Canadian history to be levying new taxes.
I am not a fan of taxes of any sort at any time. However, in the position we are now in Canada, with a sluggish economy, raising taxes is absolutely incoherent to me. It makes no sense. It takes money out of the pockets of people. It reduces the availability of Canadians to save more money. It reduces the ability of businesses to expand and create new jobs, in fact, just the opposite. I have talked to many small business owners who say that a CPP increase will, in eventuality, force them to either close up shop or lay off employees to try to survive. Neither one of those two options is a good one for small business owners.
The thing I cannot quite understand is why the government is trying to pass Bill C-26 now. Frankly, it is simply not necessary. Empirical evidence backs that up.
The government suggests that Bill C-26 is a way to increase retirement benefits for those Canadians who need it most.
When we take a look at the statistics, we find that less 5% of Canadian seniors are living below the poverty line. We have made great strides over the last decades. Only 30 or 40 years ago close to 30% of Canadians were living on low incomes. It is less than 5% now. Where is the need to increase retirement benefits if Canadians themselves are not living below the poverty line?
Additionally, I would point out that Canadians are saving more money now than they ever have in the past, approximately twice the amount they saved in 1990.
I would argue that all Canadians are aware of the responsibilities that come with planning for retirement. Their financial literacy quotient is increasing, and they are taking steps to prepare themselves for retirement.
Once again, if there is no need, why does the government feel it necessary to increase CPP premiums, to put additional taxes on Canadian businesses and Canadian workers? It does not seem to make much sense.
However, I think we can safely say that the reason the government is doing this is that it is part of its DNA. That is why its members are Liberals. They live to increase taxes. This is just one more example of it.
However, what is truly troubling to me is that this paternalistic approach to saying the government knows best, that it will take care of the retirement needs of people, is not only paternalistic, it is insulting to Canadians. In effect, the government is saying that Canadians do not have the capacity to plan for their own retirement, so the government will do it for them.
I have confidence in Canadians. I have confidence that they can plan for their own retirements and they do not need to be told by any government, let alone the current one, how to go about doing that.
I would point out for members of the chamber that there are more opportunities, more investment and retirement vehicles, in the marketplace now than there ever have been before to assist Canadians in planning for their retirements. I make specific reference to the TFSA, the most important advancement in tax avoidance that we have seen since the advent of RRSPs, a vehicle we introduced when our Conservative government was in power.
The TFSA, currently permeated in the Canadian tax base by about 10 million stakeholders who have TFSAs, allows after-tax dollars to be put into a tax-free savings account. The money generated in that account over years is tax-free, and is not taxed when that money is taken out.
We introduced this new innovation several years ago when we were in government. We started with a contribution limit of $5,000 per year, the amount Canadians could put into their TFSAs. A few years later, we increased it to $5,500. Then just before the last election, we increased the contribution limit to $10,500 to allow Canadians to put up to $10,500 a year into tax-free savings accounts to help plan and prepare for their retirements.
What did the Liberal government do? It rolled back the TFSA contribution limit, down to $5,500. In other words, it took away the ability of Canadians to put an addition $5,000 into TFSAs. What was the rationale? The Liberals say that Canadians simply do not have $10,000 kicking around at the end of the year. Therefore, since they would not be able to max out their contributions, the government would reduce their ability to even try.
In other words, the government is saying that Canadians could not afford to contribute to TFSAs. What is its answer? Instead of allowing Canadians the opportunity to voluntarily put money into tax-free savings accounts, the government is forcing Canadians, who apparently cannot afford it, to pay money into a state-run pension plan that is taxable when people withdraw their benefits. Canadian investors have no ability to choose the investment vehicle of their choice.
Nothing makes sense about this whatsoever. If Canadians are going to be forced to save, why not allow them to at least put it in tax-free savings accounts? No, that is not the case. They are being forced to put it in the CPP.
Granted, I believe the pension fund managers of the CPP over the years have done a very good job. However, the point is that, as an individual, I would like to control the investment vehicles myself. I want to choose whether I want to put money into mutual funds, stocks, bonds, or other investments, rather than someone telling me what I have to invest in and what my rate of return will be.
Once again, this seems to be a pattern with the government. It has the attitude that government knows best. We have seen this before. The insult to Canadians is that Liberals do not believe Canadians are bright enough to choose wisely with their investment accounts. They believe the government is smarter than Canadian taxpayers.
We can all recall, just a few short years ago, during the federal election campaign, when the Conservative government introduced the universal child care benefit. The chief of staff of the prime minister of the day, Paul Martin, went on television and said that it was a bad idea because if the government gave money directly to parents and let them choose how to raise their children, they would blow it all on beer and popcorn. That is the attitude the current government has. It is paternalistic, it is condescending, and it is insulting. That is why, on this side of the House, we will oppose Bill C-26.
The basic difference between Conservatives and Liberals is this. As Conservatives, we believe in lower taxes, balanced budgets, and smaller governments. The Liberals believe in higher taxes, deficit spending, and much larger governments. Eventually, Canadians will see the light and that is why, on this side of the House, we will be opposing Bill C-26, and opposing it with vigour.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-11-28 13:40 [p.7302]
Madam Speaker, I was going to rise to ask a question, but it seems that I will be starting my speech now. I would like to say hello to all those Canadians who are watching us right now, especially my constituents in Beauport—Limoilou.
I am very pleased to speak in the House to Bill C-26, regarding the Canada pension plan.
My Conservative colleague from Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan spoke just before me. I admire his exemplary oratory skills and aspire to achieve the same some day. He talked about how this bill is typical of this and every Liberal government since the dawn of Canada. In fact, this is about taxing Canadians even more in order to fill the government's coffers to help carry out the Liberal government's agenda.
My colleague also talked about the Liberals' paternalistic approach to everything. All the while, he was able to illustrate with clear and concise definitions that increasing CPP contributions was in fact a tax from an economic and social policy perspective. He described in detail the Liberals' typically paternalistic approach to raising taxes.
That was encouraging to me as I wanted to explain that this bill is typical of this government, one that, despite its claims, has been increasing Canadians' taxes every month since coming to power one year ago.
It cancelled various tax credits that we introduced, such as those for children's sports activities or books and educational items. It refused to move forward with its promise to lower the small business tax, which represents a tax hike. It cancelled the universal child care benefit and replaced it with a benefit that was poorly implemented and that, by 2020, will incur extraordinary costs that were not anticipated. The government did not think of indexation, for example. That is not revenue neutral.
The Liberals have also proposed the Liberal tax on carbon of 11.5¢ a litre, which will soon be implemented. They are also increasing the CPP contribution by $1,000 a year for every employee and every employer. Furthermore, they did not reduce the small business tax. They are also making it more difficult to obtain a mortgage in order to buy a home.
On this side of the House, we understand full well that the exponential growth in real estate prices in places like Vancouver and Toronto is a problem that needs to be addressed. However, the Liberals decided to draft a bill that makes no distinction with respect to the different regions of Canada in order to resolve a problem that is affecting only certain cities.
Bill C-26 is part of a general plan to raise taxes for Canadians. This bill is proof that the Liberals are saying one thing and doing another. For the past year, we have been hearing the Liberals talk about strengthening the middle class, but what we are seeing is that they are imposing more taxes on the middle class and introducing measures that will prevent the middle class from developing as it should.
We could even go so far as to say that the government is using the middle class to achieve its own ends and improve its electoral fortunes three years down the road. The government promised us a modest deficit of $10 billion a year. However, that deficit has now grown to $30 billion because of the government's poor decisions and bad management. To fill its coffers, the government has to raise taxes in all sorts of areas, and that includes the Canada pension plan.
In a nutshell, because of Bill C-26, workers will take home $1,000 less every year and employers and entrepreneurs, the people who lead the way in job creation in Canada, will have to give up another $1,000 per year.
I heard what my Liberal colleague said about seniors working hard all their lives and being entitled to a good Canada pension plan. He was talking about workers who are seniors right now. I stood up to ask him a question. Nowadays, more and more of our seniors keep working after retirement. My father-in-law retired from the Quebec public service a few years ago and is now working part-time. The higher Canada pension plan premium will be deducted from every one of his biweekly paycheques. Moreover, the changes to the Canada pension plan will not come into effect for another 40 years. Many seniors, including anyone who is currently a senior, will not benefit from the higher premiums, which are supposedly intended to reduce poverty among seniors.
I would also like to reiterate what my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent was saying a little earlier when he began the debate on Bill C-26. As he explained, what we are seeing right now are two different and opposing political and philosophical outlooks. My colleague from Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan provided a good description of the Liberal Party's vision. The Liberals think they know better than Canadians what they should do with their money and how they should use it at the end of the day. That is so paternalistic. It is in this government's DNA. It always thinks it knows better than Canadians what to do about all kinds of things, including how to invest and prepare for a comfortable retirement, if that is possible.
Conversely, we the Conservatives believe that individuals, Canadians themselves, know best what suits them to meet their own needs. That is why, during the 10 years we were in power, we took action and introduced policies that would help return as much money as possible to taxpayers, to maximize the amount of money that would stay in their pockets at the end of the year, as well as maximize the tools available to enable them, in turn, to maximize everything themselves. For instance, I think that the tax-free savings account is an excellent tool. Many people in my immediate family use that measure, as do my neighbours and constituents.
I also want to say that we should look to our ancestors. For example, my great-grandfather built his own retirement nest egg. I am not saying that we should go back to a time when there was no government plan to support those among us who forget to do our due diligence and prepare for old age. However, we must not implement measures that encourage people to neglect their needs and their responsibility to take care of their own retirement. We must always keep in mind the sage advice that our ancestors lived by. In other words, we must create our own nest eggs and ensure that when we reach old age we are able to take care of ourselves as much as possible for as long as possible.
I also think that Bill C-26 reflects two rather different political approaches. I would go so far as to say that my NDP colleagues share this same vision. Currently, every policy from this government is about short-term political gains with a view to re-election in three years, or so they think and want. How many decisions did we make in the past 10 years that were not at all popular? We still went ahead and made them anyway. We were courageous and proud to make those decisions. I am talking about increasing the age of retirement from 65 to 67. That was an extremely courageous and necessary decision. I am sure that I will likely never retire. I will work until I die, as people did for thousands of years. It is too bad.
I wanted to close by saying that one of my hobbies is to watch political debates. I have watched the debates in France, England, and in Germany, and the majority of the western European countries are saying that the age of retirement needs to increase. We said that, but this government is going in the opposite direction. It is very unfortunate.
View Francis Drouin Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his fine speech. I have the pleasure of serving with him on the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates.
He spoke about DNA, and I think that is a very important issue. The approach I take is based on the principle of walking the talk. For example, the Conservative Party often says that it does not like deficits. However, that party ran a deficit in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. They do not walk the talk.
The member also spoke about the Conservative Party's long-term vision. Since we are talking about pension plans, I would like to remind him that the Conservatives sold the GM shares at a loss. That is not a long-term vision. The only purpose that served was to allow the Conservatives to tell Canadians that they balanced the budget in 2015.
Since we know that defined benefit plans are in decline in Canada, what does my hon. colleague propose? Should we do the same thing that we have done for the past 40 years or should we do things differently?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-11-28 13:52 [p.7304]
Madam Speaker, it is not up to me to suggest measures. The Liberals are in government. What I can say is that their current proposal will not increase or strengthen the CPP, but instead will provide the government with additional revenue to cover its poor financial management.
I would like to say to my colleague from Glengarry—Prescott—Russell that in 2007, 2008 and 2009, the world went through the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. We ran deficits at the time to weather that great storm, and we did so with the best record of all G7 countries as we created more than 1.2 million jobs and had the best employment rate of all OECD countries.
We believe that the government should follow our lead.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2016-11-28 13:53 [p.7304]
Madam Speaker, I hear a lot about tax breaks. This is a government that generally supports tax breaks. After all, we introduced Bill C-2, which gives a substantial tax break to Canada's middle class of hundreds of millions of dollars, and nine million plus Canadians are benefiting from that.
One could ask the question, why then, if there is so much focus on tax breaks, did the Conservatives vote against that most significant tax break?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-11-28 13:54 [p.7304]
Madam Speaker, we voted against Bill C-2 because it is a false decrease of taxes in Canada.
I would invite my colleagues to chat with Senator Larry Smith, who has done great research and has put forward some amendments at the Senate committee on finance. This is research that shows, without doubt, that the decrease of taxes will only benefit households that make between $140,000 and $170,000 per year. It will not help any household with revenue under $100,000 per year. People with lower incomes are not better off with that. That is my answer to my colleague.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2016-11-28 16:11 [p.7326]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a bit of a different perspective in dealing with the legislation before us today. Just over a year ago, Canadians went to the polls and voted for real change. The reason I say that because what we are debating today is not only symbolic, but it demonstrates, in a very real way, the difference between the current government and the previous government.
For many years, when I sat in opposition, I would look to the government and the prime minister of the time, Stephen Harper, for strong leadership on the retirement file, on the issue of CPP. It was not because it was coming from nowhere. The issue was coming from many different regions of our country. Many provinces wanted Ottawa to do something with the CPP. For years, the Conservatives sat in government and chose to do nothing. They have their own mindset about how retirement should work into the future.
I have always believed that the Conservatives were not really big fans of the CPP program. Through this debate, my belief has been reinforced.
Why the real change? Since taking office, seniors have been addressed in a very real and tangible way. Today, we are talking about the CPP. The Minister of Finance reached out to the provinces, listened to what Canadians wanted, and understood the demands of what the provinces also wanted to see. For the first time, we have seen a national government demonstrate leadership by going to the table and working out an agreement among the different provinces and territories on how we can deliver on ensuring a better retirement for today's workers. I believe Canadians as a whole want to see that.
We got the job done. The government introduced the legislation, after getting a historic agreement signed off with the provinces and territories. Now we are debating it today. Future workers will benefit when the time comes for them to retire. This is about having a vision, something the previous government did not have.
I then look at my New Democratic colleagues. They seem to want to continue to give the impression that only they care about seniors. They look at ways to criticize, not acknowledging that in fact what we are doing today is a positive thing. They look for ways in which they can be critical, even though a New Democratic premier is supportive of this.
I would suggest for my New Democrat elected friends across the way that even the vast majority of New Democrat members would in fact support and say positive things about this legislation.
Is it absolutely perfect? As we know, there is always room to be better. The Minister of Finance has made a commitment to bring those issues raised on the floor of the House to the attention of premiers to see if they can improve upon the agreement. However, at the very least, the New Democrats should acknowledge that this has been in the making virtually since day one with our government. Canadians have been waiting for this for more than 10 years.
The member who just spoke said that we had to be sensitive about our seniors and their needs and made reference to food. We have to take a holistic approach in what the government is doing on the senior file. The most vulnerable seniors today are getting a substantial increase in the guaranteed annual income. Tens of thousands of seniors will be lifted out of poverty as a direct result of our government's action to increase the guaranteed income supplement. This is good news.
Again, for my New Democratic friends, they do not have to stand and applaud when the government does good things, but at the very least try to reflect reality and express the truth of the matter at hand. The matter is that our government is committed to servicing and trying to improve the quality of life, not only for future retirement needs but also for those most vulnerable seniors who find it so difficult to make financial ends meet.
I know how serious it is. While canvassing in Winnipeg North, I spoke to seniors who said that they were having a tough time deciding on whether to buy food, or purchase the medications they required or other necessities. Far too many seniors go to food banks as a direct result of this. Our government clearly understands that and has delivered on making a difference by increasing the guaranteed income supplement. However, that is not all. We still have three foundation stones dealing with public pensions. I made reference to two of them. The other one is our old age supplement.
One of the first things this government did within a couple of months of taking office was reverse the decision former prime minister Stephen Harper took when he increased the age of retirement from 65 to 67. I remember it well. I sat on the other side and the prime minister was overseas when he made the announcement that we were in a financial crisis in Canada and that the government would have to increase the age of retirement from 65 to 67. There was nothing to substantiate it. It was a personal opinion of a prime minister who had no faith in other pensionable social programs in Canada. Within a couple of months, we reversed that decision. Now individuals know that when they hit age 65, they will be able to retire and receive old age supplements.
Today should be a happy day. This bill has received support from many different sectors of our society, in particular, our provincial governments that have signed off on enhancing CPP. The Conservatives, on the other hand, talk about why they oppose the legislation. They brought forward a series of amendments. Their argument seems to be that we should not allow for the increase in the CPP because it is a tax. Therefore, they will not support the bill.
It contradicts the actions of the Conservatives on Bill C-2. They voted against Bill C-2, which was hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks for over nine million Canadians. Their arguments are not consistent with their actions. When I think of the Conservative Party's real agenda on the CPP, I believe it would be quite content if the CPP were not there. The arguments the Conservatives are using today could be used ultimately in getting rid of the CPP.
I would challenge the Conservatives to change their position and vote with the rest of the members, the Bloc, the NDP, and the Liberals, support the legislation, and oppose the amendments that are being debated.
View Ted Falk Profile
View Ted Falk Profile
2016-11-28 16:21 [p.7327]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague, the member for Winnipeg North, for his very passionate speech and for the good work he does for his constituents. It does not go unrecognized.
I also want to note that I am happy he has so adequately expressed the former Conservative government's position of reducing taxes for Canadians. That certainly is a position we are very proud of: balancing budgets, reducing taxes, creating jobs. I thank my hon. friend across the way for identifying that as a Conservative platform.
My question is that in their campaign promises, the Liberals promised to reduce the tax for small business. As he also so adequately stated, this is a payroll tax. Not only will the employees experience it, but also employers. Instead of reducing taxes on small business, this will increase them.
Could my hon. friend explain how he thinks he can justify that?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2016-11-28 16:22 [p.7327]
Mr. Speaker, the member wants to talk about taxes. To me, that is not what this debate is about. This debate is about our future and those individuals who are employed having a better retirement fund in the years ahead. That is really what this debate is all about.
However, if we want to vote on the issue of taxes, all I need to do is refer the member to Bill C-2, something I have already provided comment on. That is a bill that put hundreds of millions more dollars into the pockets of Canada's middle class.
The Conservatives—and I know it is hard to believe—actually voted against it. They wanted to keep the money, not give that tax break.
Therefore, there is a bit of inconsistency in terms of the small business. Hopefully, in my next answer, I will be able to address that.
View Brad Trost Profile
View Brad Trost Profile
2016-11-28 16:38 [p.7330]
Mr. Speaker, I am not arguing for the scrapping of the CPP altogether, and one of the reasons is the basic inertia of the system. To redesign something purely from scratch is not necessarily the best idea. What we did in government was, instead of expanding something that was not the best, we chose other vehicles, like TFSAs, to give people better rates of return, more freedom, and more flexibility.
Therefore, while CPP was really a great deal for people who got in early, it is a bad deal for people of my generation. The entirety of CPP is a bad deal for people of my generation. However, to unwind something that substantive and large is very difficult, and there are better ways to do it, but we are where we are and so we will go forward.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2016-11-28 17:13 [p.7334]
Mr. Speaker, it is great to see my colleague, and I wish him well in his leadership bid.
When I listen to the Conservatives' arguments for why they are voting against the CPP enhancement, I realize that one could use those same arguments against having the CPP today. Could the member tell us what his thoughts are on the current CPP? If he says the current system is okay, is there a situation when he would see CPP payments being enhanced? Would there be a time or scenario where they could be enhanced?
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