Bill C-43 (Historical)
Budget Implementation Act, 2005
An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 23, 2005
This bill was last introduced in the 38th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in November 2005.
Ralph Goodale Liberal
This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
May 3rd, 2012 / 12:45 p.m.
Shelly Glover Saint Boniface, MB
Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague well knows, the budget implementation acts are traditionally very broad. Let me give an example to my colleague from the Liberal Party of a budget bill that his party put forward in 2005. In fact, Bill C-43, which was introduced in the 38th Parliament, amended dozens of different pieces of legislation including the Auditor General Act, the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada Act, the Broadcasting Act, the Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador Additional Fiscal Equalization Offset Payments Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Canada Post Corporation Act, the Public Sector Pension Investment Board Act, and more.
It is hypocritical to stand in this place and tell Canadians that what is being done is unusual, because it is not. That member knows it, the members from the official opposition know it and every member of Parliament in this place knows very well this is not unusual. This is the way it goes. That member ought to be apologizing for misleading Canadians when he and his party have done exactly the same thing in the interests, they say, of Canada.
Bill C-38--Time Allocation Motion
Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act
May 3rd, 2012 / 10:15 a.m.
Ted Menzies Macleod, AB
Madam Speaker, my friend across the way and I sat through many hours on the finance committee and we agree on a lot of things and, of course, we will need to agree on what I will reflect on right now because I believe it was his government in 2005, on Bill C-43, that amended dozens of different pieces of legislation. I had the privilege of sitting in the House following that debate and I am sure that was an important debate and fairly concise.
What we are expecting here is that focus. I would encourage everyone not to just stand up and read a speech that has been repeated time and time again. I ask that they make a focus point. I encourage all hon. members to discuss with their constituents and bring their thoughts forward to the debate.
Jobs and Economic Growth Act
June 4th, 2010 / 12:25 p.m.
Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance
Madam Speaker, I thank the House for allowing me the opportunity to show my shock at some of the comments, as I stated in the House earlier today, that are completely fact-free.
I know the hon. member is very active on committees, and I congratulate him on being elected by his colleagues in this House as the second hardest working member of Parliament, but he does not have the privilege of sitting on the finance committee where we heard from over 50 witnesses who talked about the benefits that are in this legislation.
However, I do know that he has had the privilege of sitting in many Parliaments before, so I would assume that he supported many budgets because his government put them forward. One example is Bill C-43 in 2005. It actually impacted more federal acts than this legislation, such as the Auditor General Act, the Asia-Pacific act, the Broadcasting Act, additional payments to the maritime provinces and Canadian environmental protection. I am sorry but there are just too many to mention them all.
I have a list of budget bills that the member sat through that were far deeper and far more omnibus, if he wants to use that word, so how does he justify complaining about this bill?
Bill C-9--Time Allocation Motion
Jobs and Economic Growth Act
June 3rd, 2010 / 3:30 p.m.
Stockwell Day President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
Mr. Speaker, it is important that we put this in context. My hon. friend mentioned that Canadians expect certain things and we definitely live up to that expectation.
Bill C-9 was introduced on March 29 for review by Parliament. It has already been in this chamber for 70 days. There have been over 50 speeches, which we appreciate. Finance committee has already had 10 meetings on this bill. It has heard from over 50 witnesses, but we are here and we are still debating it.
It is also important to remember that there are reasons, very important reasons, this legislation needs to move through and become law by June 30. We have to recall that once we are through the process here in the House of Commons then the bill also goes through the same legislative process in the Senate: second reading, referral to the Senate national finance committee, report stage, third reading. This bill still has a considerable distance to go and yet it is being delayed.
Canadians need to know what is at stake here. On one item alone, there are amendments that are required in order to put in place regulations to implement reforms that were announced by the government in October 2009, that were targeted at Canadians who are members of pension plans. These amendments require, for instance, an employer to fully fund benefits if the whole of the pension plan is terminated. They establish a distressed pension plan workout scheme and allow the Superintendent of Financial Institutions to replace an actuary. These have to come into force and royal assent given by June 30 because actuarial evaluations for federally regulated pension plans are required to be filed within six months of the end of the year. That makes it June 30 for those to be filed by December 31. Pension plans are at stake.
I will conclude by saying it is not uncommon at all to use this process of bringing in other legislation. Just one of many examples is that in 2005, the previous Liberal government in its last budget bill, Bill C-43, had over 20 different parts and legislation as varied as the Auditor General of Canada Act, the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada Act, the Broadcasting Act, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador Additional Fiscal Equalization Offset Payments Act, Canadian Environmental Protection Act, Department of Public Works Act, Canada Post Corporation Act, Employment Insurance Act. I could on and on.
I do not want to use the word “hypocrisy” and I will not, but that member supported that bill in 2005 which had a whole lot of important legislation integrated into it. That is what we are asking for here and not to put pension plans of Canadians at risk right across the country.
Bill C-311--Climate Change Accountability Act
October 8th, 2009 / 11:45 a.m.
Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order that will be instructive to members, as I believe the table and the House are deliberating on the Conservatives' motion to defeat this process that we are in.
I call members' attention to a decision from May 30, 2005 concerning Bill C-43. The member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl and the member for Niagara Falls, who are now sitting on the Conservative benches, instructed the House through a motion that it give instruction to the Standing Committee on Finance to divide Bill C-43, which was an act to implement certain provisions of the budget. It was obviously an important bill. I will just read the last part of the motion because it is relevant to what we are dealing with today. It reads:
...that the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel be authorized to make such technical changes or corrections as may be necessary to give effect to this motion; and that Bill C-43A be reported back to the House no later than two sitting days after the adoption of this motion;
My point of order is that we have had precedence for the motion that we have moved and are now debating today. The government has stood against the motion. We just had a vote over that very issue and it lost the vote. It then said that it was not in order, where clearly a motion moved by some of the government's own members, not four years ago, addresses this very thing, which is to divide a bill and seek the committee to return the bill by a prescribed date to the House so that it can have a free and fair vote in this democratic place.
Ways and Means Motion No. 10--Speaker's Ruling
Points of Order
March 13th, 2008 / 11:45 a.m.
The Speaker Peter Milliken
I am now prepared to rule on the point of order raised by the hon. member for Pickering—Scarborough East on March 11 concerning the admissibility of the ways and means motion to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 26 and to enact provisions to preserve the fiscal plan set out in that budget for which the hon. Minister of Finance gave notice on that day.
I would like to thank the hon. member for Pickering—Scarborough East for initially bringing this matter to the attention of the House, as well as for his subsequent intervention, and I would also like to thank the hon. member for Markham—Unionville, the hon. government House leader, and the hon. House leader for the Bloc Québécois for their submissions.
The member for Pickering—Scarborough East, in raising the matter, claimed that Ways and Means Motion No. 10, standing on the order paper in the name of the Minister of Finance, seeks to have the House decide upon a matter which it had already voted on.
That vote took place on March 5, 2008, when Bill C-253, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (deductibility of RESP contributions) was adopted at third reading. To this issue, the member for Markham—Unionville has added the contention that Ways and Means Motion No. 10, by including provisions related to Bill C-253, seeks to implement a measure that does not flow from the most recent budget, thus, he alleges, enlarging the usual parameters of budget implementation ways and means motions.
He further contended that this was a backdoor attempt to circumvent the rights of private members as provided for in the rules governing this category of business.
For the sake of clarity, I should state that sections 45 to 48 of Ways and Means Motion No. 10 are the subject of this point of order. They are conditional amendments that seek to amend or repeal the amendments to the Income Tax Act contained in Bill C-253 should the latter receive royal assent. The stated objective of these ways and means measures is, to quote the Minister of Finance at page 3971 of the Debates, “--to protect Canada's fiscal framework”.
The government House leader asserted that the broad scope of Ways and Means Motion No. 10, and the wide range of taxation and fiscal measures it seeks to implement are clear evidence that the motion is fundamentally a different matter than was Bill C-253, and therefore, that it should be allowed to proceed.
In support of his arguments a number of procedural authorities were cited, some of which I will return to later in this ruling.
Let me first deal with the argument that the inclusion of provisions regarding Bill C-253 in Ways and Means Motion No. 10 does not respect our conventions regarding the content of such motions.
The Chair wishes to remind the House that the budget speech and bills based on ways and means motions tabled at a later date are not necessarily linked. House of Commons Procedure and Practice states at page 748:
While a Budget is normally followed by the introduction of Ways and Means bills, such bills do not have to be preceded by a Budget presentation. Generally, taxation legislation can be introduced at any time during a session; the only prerequisite being prior concurrence in a Ways and Means motion.
At page 759, Marleau and Montpetit goes on to state:
The adoption of a Ways and Means motion stands as an order of the House either to bring in a bill or bills based on the provisions of that motion or to propose an amendment or amendments to a bill then before the House.
That text footnotes examples from 1971, 1973, and 1997. Furthermore, in the case before us, it must be noted that the title of Ways and Means Motion No. 10 states clearly that it not only implements certain provisions of the February 26, 2008 budget, but that it also aims to:
--enact provisions to preserve the fiscal plan set out in that budget.
On this point, namely the objection that the motion includes provisions that were not contained in the budget, the Chair must conclude that Ways and Means Motion No. 10 is not procedurally flawed.
Let us now turn to the argument that the decision of the House to adopt Bill C-253 at third reading must stand since the House cannot be asked to pronounce itself again in the same session on the same subject.
The Chair wishes to remind hon. members that while a part of Ways and Means Motion No. 10 touches on Bill C-253, the question that the House will actually be asked to vote on today, assuming it is called today, is not the same as the question it agreed to on March 5, 2008, when it adopted the bill at third reading.
In this regard the Chair has found a number of examples where a bill repeals sections of an act already amended by another bill adopted by the House in the same session.
For example, in the first session of the 38th Parliament, Bill C-18, An Act to amend the Telefilm Canada Act and another Act, and Bill C-43, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 23, 2005, both proposed to amend subsection 85(1) of the Financial Administration Act.
In addition, there are also examples of bills proceeding concurrently even though some of their provisions are dependent upon one another.
As mentioned by the government House leader, Mr. Speaker Lamoureux ruled on February 24, 1971, on such a situation at page 3712 of the Debates. He stated:
There is, therefore, in my view, nothing procedurally wrong in having before the House at the same time concurrent or related bills which might be in contradiction with one another either because of the terms of the proposed legislation itself or in relation to proposed amendments.
This is further supported by the 23rd edition of Erskine May at page 580, which affirms that:
There is no rule against the amendment or the repeal of an act of the same session.
Most compelling are the rulings of Mr. Speaker Fraser from June 8, 1988, and I refer to the Debates at pages 16252 to 16258, and on November 28, 1991, pages 5513 to 5514, both of which were quoted by the government House leader. These rulings clearly support the view that the progress of any bill flowing from Ways and Means Motion No. 10 rests with the House.
As Mr. Speaker Fraser put it on November 28, 1991:
The legislative process affords ample opportunity for amending proposed legislation during the detailed clause by clause study in committee and again at the report stage in the House.
Insofar as this process affects private members' business as a category of business or indeed the rights of individual members to propose initiatives, I must point out that it is not the Speaker but the House which ultimately decides such matters.
For the reasons stated above, the Chair finds that Ways and Means Motion No. 10, as tabled by the Minister of Finance, may proceed in its current form.
Once again, I would like to thank the hon. member for Pickering—Scarborough East for having raised this matter.
September 26th, 2006 / 9:25 a.m.
Shannon Coombs Executive Director, Representative for Formulated Products Industry Coalition, Canadian Consumer Specialty Products Association
Good morning, Mr. Chair, members of Parliament. It's a pleasure to be here today.
As per our presentation in May, we have two key issues we wish the committee to consider and make recommendations on in your report to Parliament for amendments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. I will also outline a few comments on the CSDSL process as it is on the agenda today, and we did mention it in May.
My name is Shannon Coombs and I'm the executive director of the Canadian Consumer Specialty Products Association. However, I am here today representing FPIC, the Formulated Products Industry Coalition.
Our unique industry coalition is a group of 15 trade associations that formed in 2001 when the Food and Drugs Act became subject to CEPA.
FPIC's member companies provide food, personal care products, household cleaners, cosmetics, medical devices, and pharmaceuticals to Canadians. Collectively we represent over 750 member companies and we comprise a $66 billion a year industry and employ 375,000 Canadians.
Why are we here today? Why are substances in the Food and Drugs Act subject to products captured under CEPA?
CEPA is the legislation that governs new and existing substances in Canada. In 1999 parliamentarians requested that CEPA be the safety net for all environmental assessments, and that assessment also includes a health assessment of substances.
In section 81 of the act there is a requirement for other acts that have pre-market assessments to meet or exceed CEPA. Other acts had two years to meet that requirement, and if they did, they were scheduled for exemption under CEPA. If they did not meet the requirement, then CEPA would be the act to govern environmental assessments. Other acts, such as the Seeds Act, the Fertilizers Act, and the Pest Control Products Act, met CEPA's requirements and were scheduled for exemption. The Food and Drugs Act did not meet those requirements, and therefore environmental assessments for substances in Food and Drugs Act products were subject to CEPA's regulations, the new substances notification regulation, the NSNR.
We have been working under this regime for the past five years and believe CEPA is the most appropriate legislative authority for these substances. However, when the Food and Drugs Act substances were captured under CEPA, it left in limbo a list of approximately 9,000 substances that have been used safely and effectively by Canadians for almost 20 years. These substances are in limbo because they are considered new, not existing under the act, and this needs to be remedied. I will refer to 9,000-plus substances as the in-commerce list.
Since most of our member companies have never been subject to anything other than rigorous pre-market assessment and/or notifications under the Food and Drugs Act, being subject to CEPA was new and challenging. Despite the learning curve, FPIC has recognized that CEPA's systems and regulations provide predictable, rigorous submission reviews to member companies and protection to Canadians and their environment.
FPIC is requesting that the committee consider this key recommendation for improving and adding clarity to the act, which only Parliament, you, can provide. It is as follows: acknowledge the in-commerce list as a list of existing substances under the law by creating a provision in CEPA to recognize them as such.
You might be asking yourself what is on the in-commerce list. It's quite a range of substances. There are pharmaceutical actives, cosmetic ingredients such as extracts. There are surfactants, food colourings, flavourings, kiwi essence, and oil of lemon, just to name a few.
Why do we want them treated as existing? The substances and the products have and continue to provide benefits to Canadians. These substances have been in commerce for almost 20 years, and clearly they're new, not existing, and this makes sense. To ensure there is a mechanism for the in-commerce list to be treated as existing, such as those on the domestic substances have been treated, we're suggesting that the government categorize, prioritize, or whatever word you'd like to use, the in-commerce list and then, if needed, provide a screening level risk assessment.
At the meetings in May there was a session where officials provided an overview of the categorization and screening of the domestic substances list, plus there were comments made on this initiative last week.
We believe that assessing and processing all existing substances the same makes sense. We recommend that parliamentarians recommend to the government in their report that substances in the Food and Drugs Act products be ensconced in the legislation by modifying section 66 of the bill. This would outline the parameters of the in-commerce list. We'd also seek an amendment to sections 73 and 74 to ensure there is a post-categorization process as well as a form to have appropriate risk assessments conducted, and then we'd also like to see section 81 amended, which is very important, so that all substances in the Food and Drugs Act products are formally subject to CEPA's NSNs, the new substances notification assessments regulations.
FPIC did provide a brief yesterday to committee on the key areas where we'd like to have the in-commerce list addressed in the legislation, and we do note that the list is not inclusive, and we're willing to work with all partners to ensure that the list is as fulsome as possible.
I'd like to turn to our second issue and recommendation request to the committee, and that is the issue and meaning of the term “toxic” in CEPA.
FPIC requests that the committee considers removing the term “toxic” from the legislation so that there is clarity and understanding with respect to how substances are assessed and managed under the act. If the risk assessment of the substance meets that definition, it is placed on schedule 1, and then some type of management for that particular use will often be invoked. As stated in our submission, the challenge is the misunderstanding around the term “toxic”.
It is our belief that Canadians, regulators, and non-governmental organizations interpret CEPA's toxic substances as being intrinsically toxic, i.e., poisonous and/or lethal. There are examples that cause confusion. CFCs destroy atmospheric ozone. They're toxic to the environment, but they're not toxic to humans, which is why they have been used in the past in asthma inhalers. Ammonia, which is a substance that was debated last week, is only CEPA toxic in the environment from ammonia traces found in waste water effluent. This substance is used in numerous other applications, such as fertilizer and glass cleaner. These products have subsequently become targets, because of the listing and because of misinterpretation. Carbon dioxide is also on schedule 1 so that greenhouse gases can be managed, but it's not intrinsically toxic as we all exhale this gas and plants rely on it for photosynthesis.
I will provide two examples of where the term “CEPA toxic” is being misinterpreted.
One is from an NGO group that has all schedule 1 substances listed on a website, along with the interpretation of products that the substances would be in and how they should be avoided. The first on the list is ammonia. It clearly says that it is CEPA toxic, that it's used in glass cleaner, and that you should not use these products.
The second is from the B.C. Buildings Corporation, which has a cleaning management chemical content standard; it's a procurement criterion. It states clearly in section 6 of that document that all substances on schedule 1 are not to be used in any products. This means that ammonia and other substances are stigmatized. There's no relation to the risk assessment that was completed and the use and the risk that's being managed.
Clearly, the prevailing challenge before us all is that the term “toxic” in CEPA is misunderstood, so actions that are not warranted are taken. From my examples, groups and regulators target products that may contain the substance, apply the label “CEPA toxic” to all uses of the substance, and alert Canadians to a risk that's not a risk.
We are recommending that the committee consider removing the word “toxic” from the legislation and include the wording suggested in the last budget bill, Bill C-43, part 15, where in section 64 the definition of “toxic” remains; however, the title is “Assessment and Management of Substances”. This accurately reflects what CEPA does and would assist with the government's challenge of adding substances to schedule 1. It would put them in context, i.e., the use of a substance, the risk assessment, the results of that assessment, and how they are being managed. We believe that if the term “toxic” is removed, it would provide clarity and enhance the credibility of the act.
With respect to the issues raised about the constitutionality of changing the word “toxic”, which has been raised by other witnesses, we would assert that this issue and validity of the revisions for CEPA would have been thoroughly discussed and addressed by Department of Justice lawyers prior to part 15 being added to the last budget bill and presented to Parliament.
In our experience, legislation from this Parliament is respected and upheld, but it needs to be flexible and responsive to unintended consequences. I'm sure that's why parliamentarians in their wisdom decided on a five-year review of this act--which is why we're here today--which has also set a precedent to include review periods for other acts. I don't believe our legislators would have known about the stigmatization issue and the unforeseen challenges arising from the listing process in section 64 when they included the word “toxic” in the legislation .
I would like to turn my comments to our final issue, and that is the categorization and screening of the domestic substances list. At our meeting in May, when the question about whether there is anything that can be done better regarding CEPA was posed to witnesses, we replied that there is always room for improvement.
CEPA is a huge piece of legislation. Our key concern at the time, and which currently remains, was that we need to increase the communication about the successes of this act and how it provides protection for Canadians. We believe a proactive communication strategy would be in everyone's best interest, especially around the results of categorization. Why? The CSDSL program mandated under CEPA 1999 is a made-in-Canada program. While other OECD countries have similar programs, Canada is in the lead. There have been 23,000 substances reviewed against criteria to determine safety for humans and the environment. The diversity of the substances on that list includes everything from industrial chemicals, gasoline, water, vitamins, sugar, etc. It's a very comprehensive list. Results of the program have provided government with priorities for further review, if warranted; and products and their ingredients are safe when used according to the product's directions.
While the results of the program have yet to be made public with an action plan from Ministers Ambrose and Clement, CCSPA would challenge the government that the list of potentially 4,000 substances that met specific scientific criteria needs to be put in context and communicated properly to Canadians.
We were most pleased to hear from the witnesses last week that they have been involved in the process, but they have been quoted consistently in our national newspapers as characterizing the list as the “baddies of the bad” and the “worst of the worst”. We're sure that everyone has seen the last publicly available list of substances provided to all interested parties in July of this year. The 4,000 substances may include such substances as tamoxifen, which is a life-saving cancer drug. Those also include titanium oxide, a key ingredient in sunscreen, which prevents cancer; vinegar; almond flavouring; and vitamin A, just to name a few.
Instead of scaring Canadians or not advising them about the facts, we should be telling them about the enormous work the government has undertaken and its plans to address any future concerns with all stakeholders, and most importantly, put into context what the list really means to Canadians. We need some true risk-benefit communications.
We would ask that you consider our two key recommendations: remove the word “toxic”; and add provisions to ensure that the ICL, or in-commerce list, is treated as “existing” during your deliberations. Our collective priority is to ensure the protection of Canadians and our environment.
November 22nd, 2005 / 2:15 p.m.
Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition
Mr. Speaker, the answer to all those questions is that we will clean up the mess the government created over the last 12 years.
The Prime Minister continues to run around the country threatening to take away an increase in seniors' pensions if an election is called. However the increase to seniors' pensions was contained in Bill C-43 which was passed by the House, by the Senate and supported by all three national parties.
Why is the Prime Minister trying to scare seniors by saying that he will take away the pension increase if an election is called?
Old Age Security Act
Private Members' Business
November 18th, 2005 / 1:40 p.m.
Betty Hinton Kamloops—Thompson, BC
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-301, an act to amend the Old Age Security Act, monthly guaranteed income supplement.
At the beginning I would like to make it very clear I have some serious reservations about some of the things that have been happening lately. The Liberals claim that spending outlined in the supplementary estimates will be lost if an election is called before Parliament is able to pass the supply bill. Examples of the spending cited by the Liberals include a pay raise for the military and the increase in the guaranteed income supplement.
I would like to make it very clear for all seniors that this is not the case. This is not true. They will not lose the guaranteed income supplement. The money was voted on by Parliament early last summer as part of Bill C-43, the budget implementation act. It never needs to be voted on again. Rest assured, this will take place for every senior in Canada, regardless of the rhetoric they may hear due to a pending election.
The bill before us today amends the Old Age Security Act to allow eligible pensioners to receive a monthly guaranteed income supplement without having to make an application every year. It also repeals the restrictions respecting retroactivity. I applaud any legislation that enhances the quality of life for Canada's seniors. The intent of Bill C-301 does this. Although a few details require a review, I am quite prepared to support the intent of the legislation and look forward to it being discussed in committee.
Amending the Old Age Security Act to ensure eligible pensioners receive their monthly guaranteed income supplement is something that should have been done a long time ago, but it was not. Therefore, let us get moving forward with this and make it happen.
We continually see the Liberal government making every attempt to extract every last nickel from Canadian taxpayers. A perfect example is the attempt to freeze income trusts and the resulting uncertainty for investors. This uncertainty has cost seniors money that they are dependent upon. These responsible seniors have invested in money for their retirement years and the government cannot stand not having its hands in their pocket. Liberals feel they are entitled to a portion of the pie. They are not and they should be ashamed of itself.
Canadian seniors now live in fear that their nest eggs will be eroded by the government's indecisiveness on income trusts. Because the government has cast a shroud of uncertainty over them, Canadian seniors deserve to see this bill go forward for further study. There must be some degree of certainty for seniors.
Seniors and low income families are facing unprecedented hikes in home heating costs this winter and it is incumbent upon the government to mitigate these increases as much as possible. While Bill C-66 seeks to do this, we all know what happened in a similar circumstance five years ago when deceased persons and prisoners received cheques while many in desperate need received nothing.
Under Bill C-66, single seniors must be receiving the guaranteed income supplement to get their paltry $125 in assistance. I would suggest that very few seniors are aware of this fact and are expecting this assistance from government. Imagine their disappointment when they discover, because they did not fill out a form to receive GIS, that they will not receive any assistance.
This brings me to another point. It has been reported that between 300,000 and 380,000 eligible seniors do not receive the guaranteed income supplement because they do not know if they are eligible for it. Why is this? Many do not understand the eligibility requirements. Nor do they understand they must apply for it annually.
The Oxford Dictionary defines the word “guarantee” as “a formal assurance that certain conditions will be fulfilled”. There is no guarantee that they will receive the supplement. There is no guarantee that they will receive the home heating rebate. The only guarantee seniors have is the incessant paper work required to get what is rightfully theirs.
As shadow minister for veterans affairs, I know all too well the hoops that veterans are required to jump through to get a disability pension or any of the benefits to which they are entitled.
Imagine having the double whammy of being a veteran and a senior, and trying to deal with the bureaucratic quagmire to get even the smallest bit of assistance? Instead of enjoying their retirement in dignity and comfort, many Canadian seniors are struggling to meet the most basic of life's needs.
It is incumbent upon us as a nation to ensure that those who helped build this nation live out their lives in relative comfort. Neglecting to ensure that seniors eligible for the GIS are receiving it has other repercussions as well. They are also losing out on the programs offered by many provinces, such as prescription drug plans, other income supplements, heating oil subsidies, and home care assistance programs that are available only to individuals receiving GIS. This is unacceptable.
It has a trickle down effect. When eligible Canadian seniors do not receive their guaranteed income supplement for whatever reason, they also lose out on other services that are essential to their quality of life.
This legislation would enable automatic processing of the guaranteed income supplement based on information from the Department of National Revenue, thus ensuring eligible pensioners receive their monthly GIS and without the annual application. I support this measure without question.
There are other aspects of this bill that require and deserve further investigation. With respect to the retroactivity, we need to look at how far back this would go, who it should apply to, and how it will be implemented. They are all important questions that need to be studied and this can be done best at committee.
I would like very much to see this bill go to committee, so it can be carefully examined and given the detail it needs. We need to ensure that it is a strong and viable piece of legislation that endures the test of time, as have our seniors. They deserve no less.
I am certain this legislation can be reinforced and strengthened for the benefit of our seniors. The need is unquestionable. As the Conservative critic for veterans affairs, I have consulted with seniors across Canada and can say unarguably that there is a broad consensus from coast to coast to coast that seniors need to automatically receive any and all benefits as they become eligible.
Let us not deny seniors their rights. I ask that we as elected representatives do what is right and necessary to ensure that those individuals who helped build this nation receive what is rightfully theirs.
For clarification, I will repeat my earlier statement. There is no need for any senior citizen to worry about the loss of GIS income if an election were to proceed. Those are scare tactics that are being used in a very unconscionable way against one of the most vulnerable groups of Canadians in this country. This money was voted on by Parliament early last summer as part of Bill C-43, the Budget Implementation Act. It never needs to be voted on again and it is assured for the seniors of Canada.
Premiers of Quebec
November 18th, 2005 / noon
Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC
Mr. Speaker, apparently the misrepresentations and untruths are starting even before the election campaign gets under way. Today, during question period the Minister of Finance stated that if an election were to occur, then it is clear that the official opposition would have denied seniors the increase in their guaranteed income supplements. The hon. Minister of Finance knows full well that the increase was already under Bill C-43, the original Liberal government budget before we got into the NDP budget, so he should correct the record.