House of Commons Hansard #44 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was plan.

Topics

Business Of The House
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I have notice of two points of privilege. I will hear those in just one moment.

Ways And Means
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Willowdale
Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1), I wish to table a notice of a ways and means motion to amend the Excise Tax Act, as well as an explanatory note. I ask that an order of the day be designated for consideration of the motion.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Norman E. Doyle St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on a question of privilege. I have sent you the required notice of my intention to do so today. I have also informed the House leader of the Reform Party.

Earlier today during debate on Bill C-2, my leader was interrupted by out of order remarks by the member for Okanagan—Shuswap. Following an admonition by the Chair, the member failed to come to order and left his seat making threatening gestures inviting the member for Sherbrooke to engage in a brawl.

The member had to be restrained by the member for Prince George—Bulkley Valley who is his colleague.

With great regret, I feel this must be formally brought to the attention of the Chair. It is not the first time that the member has engaged in this kind of activity. On February 4, 1997 the member for Okanagan—Shuswap created a spectacle in this Chamber when he used threatening gestures and profane language to another member.

Mr. Speaker, it clearly constitutes disorderly conduct, but it also constitutes contempt of the entire House. Threats against members and intimidation are well-known breaches of privilege and they have been found to be in contempt by the House. It is conduct which is clearly meant to interfere with the rights of members to speak freely and within the rules of the House.

The member for Okanagan—Shuswap, not only does he owe the House an apology, but it is time that the House was given the opportunity to judge his continued misconduct. It is not a matter which should be dealt with solely by you, Sir. The House as well should be permitted to judge the matter in the light of parliamentary law on contempt for the House.

Should you find, Your Honour, that a prima facie case of privilege is clear, I would be prepared to move a motion referring the member's conduct to the standing committee.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Let us hear what the House leader for the opposition has to say.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure whether this is a point of privilege. I suppose a member of this House if he is particularly offended by something should look at what happens if the member himself introduces some bad language in the House.

I think to try to get some media attention for the leader of the Conservatives and for himself is inappropriate in this House in this manner by making such accusations on our member.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member in question is here in the House now. His name has been mentioned. Perhaps he could clarify the situation.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Reform

Darrel Stinson Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, I was not in my chair at the time this took place. There were some words exchanged. I left the seat over there to come over here.

I cannot raise a point of order until I sit in my proper seat. Is that not the rule of the House? So I came across here to raise a point of order on what was being said because the language that was being used was not acceptable in this House. This is when it all happened, Mr. Speaker.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleagues, from what I have heard now I am not sure whether we have a point of privilege. Surely there was some disorder in the House. I spoke very briefly with my colleague who was in the Chair at the time.

It is always regrettable when anything like this happens in the House. We are getting close to the end of the session. Sometimes in the heat of debate words are exchanged. I plead with you that this type of conduct among our members is not acceptable for us here in the House of Commons. I would hope that all hon. members would take this to heart.

I would encourage that this type of thing not happen again in the House of Commons, and surely not happen at any time in the midst of debate.

My colleagues, what I will undertake to do is I will look at the blues and I will look at what was on the tape. If it is necessary, I will come back to the House. But please take my admonition to heart for all of you that this type of thing should never occur again in the House. This point is closed.

I am going to go to a question of privilege. I had notice from the hon. member for Sarnia—Lambton.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Roger Gallaway Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege generally relating to Standing Order 94.

This morning I received at my office a notice with respect to a private members' draw that will be held tomorrow, December 5. A draw was held on November 25 at which time I believe six bills and three motions were drawn.

As members are aware, the normal way of doing this in the House is to allow the private members items on the order of precedence to decrease to 15 at which time a draw is held. A draw was held a week ago and the committee is within the 10-day time period as specified by the standing orders to determine which bills and motions will be votable and which bills and motions will not be votable.

In response to an inquiry I made to the Private Members' Business Office this morning, I was advised that there was an irregularity with respect to motions and for that reason it was having another draw. My point is that if there was an irregularity with respect to motions, then perhaps the correct measure would fall with respect to the draw of motions. I am not certain what that irregularity is.

There are presently four votable bills listed on the Order Paper. The committee is seized with the consideration of six others at the moment. A decision for that must be made by midnight next Monday. By adding three more bills to the order, those people who will be drawn tomorrow with bills, if one of the six is selected from the draw of November 25, it will preclude those who will be drawn tomorrow, December 5, from ever having a votable bill. Alternatively, it will change the odds for those who had a bill drawn on November 25 in terms of going from one to six to one to nine.

Having had a bill drawn on November 25 I would like to know if the odds have changed for me.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleague, I do not know that you have a question of privilege but you surely have a point of grievance. I will look into that and I will get back to the House before noon tomorrow. I will let the House know what my findings are at that time.

I have a point of order from the hon. member for Dewdney—Alouette.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

December 4th, 1997 / 3:10 p.m.

Reform

Grant McNally Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, my point of order arises from a question I asked in the House yesterday in regard to Mr. Ken Vollman, the vice-chair of the NEB. Upon further examination it has been determined that Mr. Vollman's expenditures were within appropriate guidelines. I called Mr. Vollman today and apologized to him for any damage caused to his good reputation by my comments in this House yesterday.

Mr. Vollman did indicate that I should mention in this House the way the information was disclosed so that this does not happen again in the spending of public moneys. Again I apologize to the House and to Mr. Vollman.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the question from yesterday to which the hon. gentleman has just referred was a question directed to me in the House.

On that same point of order, let me say that I am very pleased to hear the member's apology in respect of Mr. Vollman. I am certain that Mr. Vollman is even more pleased that the record has been corrected and that there is no slur against his character or his reputation. I thank the hon. gentleman for having the courage to recant on this point. I hope that all hon. members will be very cautious when dealing with the reputations of people in this House.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-2, an act to establish the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and to amend the Canada Pension Plan and the Old Age Security Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts, be read the third time and passed.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act
Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

Hillsborough
P.E.I.

Liberal

George Proud Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to offer my comments on Bill C-2 as we take part in this very colourful and hotly debated third reading today.

In my remarks I want to emphasize how we are earning the confidence of Canadians in the Canada pension plan that will be there for them. I want to talk about how this bill is a comprehensive package that will maintain the security of our citizens.

First, it should be made clear to all of us that the Canada pension plan is a defining feature of the quality of life in Canada. In the three decades since the plan was introduced by the Liberal government of the day, the Canada pension plan has become firmly established as a the cornerstone of our social policy.

This is not just some monument to enlightened thinking in our past. It is a key part of the planning for tomorrow's retirement for virtually all Canadians outside of Quebec and with its Quebec counterpart provides a very uniform portable protection from coast to coast.

In the last few years, however, concerns have been expressed about the viability of the Canada pension plan. A leading magazine, Maclean's , put this in sharp perspective a few months ago. It polled Canadians and found that two-thirds of our fellow citizens were not confident that the Canada pension plan would be around when they needed it.

Canadians heard statements like the one made by the Canada pension plan's chief actuary and they were concerned. I believe we all know that he projected that at current ratios of contributions to benefits paid, the Canada pension plan would be exhausted by the year 2015. Their concerns were rooted in more than finances.

Expert analysis showed us that the rules of the plan had to be updated to reflect the realities of today's world as well as tomorrow's. The facts were clear, the need for action obvious.

This government has acted to preserve the Canada pension plan for all Canadians. The changes to the plan that are before this House in Bill C-2 are not the product of tinkering in Ottawa. They are the result of a long and wide-ranging process of public consultation that began during our last term in office. They represent a complete and balanced package.

This process of consultation was jointly conducted with our counterparts in the provincial and territorial governments and professionals in Canada's actuarial and insurance professions. The consultations reached out to the representatives of social planning organizations, seniors, youth and persons with disabilities as well as interested private individuals.

In short, these consultations involved a large number of Canadians who had views and concerns about building a stronger Canada pension plan. One of the clearest messages that Canada's governments heard during the consultations was that Canadians want and need the Canada pension plan.

To hear some people talk, you would swear that the Canada pension plan was an anachronism, a throwback to the sixties. Those people should get out of their ivory towers and listen to Canadians. People on the streets of this country would tell them something quite different.

Canadians told us in no uncertain terms to preserve the Canada pension plan, change it if necessary, but preserve it. We heard them. We listened and the result is this Bill C-2.

This bill is more than an effort to address today's valid concerns. It launches a plan for the future. Bill C-2 recognizes how different our economy and our society have become since the year when the plan began. It makes the changes necessary to sustain the Canada pension plan.

Three-quarters of those changes are on the financing side of the ledger. They respond to the gap between the contribution rates and the benefit payouts. In fact, I am sure that members recall that the chief actuary in the Canada pension plan projected that contribution rates would have to increase to 14.2% of income covered by the plan by the year 2030, that is unless changes were made.

This government and our provincial partners agreed that 14.2% of income was too high. We knew that it would be more than Canadians would be willing to pay. Therefore, we went to work.

We looked at what experts and at what ordinary citizens alike told us as we set out to rebalance the relationship between the Canada pension plan income and expenses.

One key part of the response is addressed in Bill C-2 through the proposals that would increase contribution rates over a seven-year period.

In this way, contributions will increase each year and reach 9.9% of covered income by the year 2003. Then, we will hold the contributions at this rate indefinitely.

Some hon. members have been quick to leap to their feet with shouts of tax grab. The reality is quite different, and I want to set them straight.

Canada pension plan contributions are not a tax. They are contributions toward pensions. They are an investment by Canadians in their own future. That is hardly a tax. It is planning prudently for tomorrow.

Let me add more information on this point. Canada pension plan contributions will not go into the government's general revenues. Canada pension plan contributions will not go to anything other than the Canada pension plan.

Let me make another point to show how hollow tax grab claims are. Are contributions to company plans taxes? Of course not. In fact, both the Canada pension plan premiums and company pension plan contributions reduce the taxes we pay.

The simple fact is this. Both are investments in the future and I think it is important that Canadians understand that. Bill C-2 is very, very clear. These contributions will not get mixed into some government coffers. They will become part of a separate investment fund. An independent body will manage and will invest this money on behalf of a plan and its contributors.

Those investments will go into a diversified securities portfolio and should earn higher rates of return than the status quo. That improved investment performance should help us lower the long term contribution rate by providing more income to help pay the benefits for future generations.

Opposition parties in this House have consistently avoided providing a comprehensive alternative. Each is unable to say how they would meet our obligations to people receiving benefits today, those who expect to do so soon and those who have many years to go in their working lives.

This government and our counterparts in the eight provincial capitals have a plan. It is called Bill C-2 and it is right on the agenda. Bill C-2 is about ensuring a sustainable, affordable and fairer Canada pension plan. It is about giving peace of mind to Canadians who are getting pensions now and for those who are looking ahead to receiving pensions in the future.

This bill is about ensuring fairness between the generations in our country so that our children and grandchildren do not have to pay as high as 14% of their earnings.

As I hear the comments about this or that aspect of Bill C-2, I find nothing that shakes my conviction that this is a sound piece of legislation. It is balanced. It is fair. It is the right direction for us to go. It represents the complete package that Canadians told us they want.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act
Government Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments of the member. I think the member well appreciates the importance of a secure, guaranteed, indexed plan for Canadians to help our seniors to enjoy in dignity their retirement.

I would like to ask the member his opinion about the Reform Party's suggestion that we should abandon the CPP and move to some sort of RRSP scheme in which individual Canadians would have to manage their own pension affairs in lieu of having the benefits of the current plan and whether or not the member feels that that kind of plan would provide the same kind of protection and security for Canadians.