House of Commons Hansard #4 of the 40th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was economic.

Topics

The Economy
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have already been waiting far too long.

Since the government seems to have run out of ideas, and since the Prime Minister said, yesterday, that he was open to the Bloc Québécois' suggestions, then might I suggest that the coming economic statement include loans and loan guarantees, as well as refundable tax credits for research and development to provide the forestry and manufacturing sectors with the funds they are in desperate need of now?

The Economy
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in fact, we have taken many of those measures. It would be good if the hon. member would go back to budget 2008 and recognize what we did for investments in research and development and what we did with the billion dollar community development trust fund for those communities that were struggling at the time.

We will be discussing this in more detail. The finance minister will be tabling the fall economic update next Thursday.

The Economy
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, when asked what he planned to do to help seniors who have seen the value of their RRSPs drop significantly following the stock market downturn, the Minister of Finance mentioned a letter that he would be sending to financial institutions asking for more information about asset transfers. Clearly, the minister did not understand.

What we want to know is what he himself plans to do to help seniors deal with this crisis.

The Economy
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, this government is very concerned about the plight in which seniors are caught. It is a very serious matter. Seniors are concerned about their futures, their investments and their retirement funds. That is why the minister yesterday wrote letters to all federally regulated financial institutions to ensure that seniors who were transferring money out of their RRSPs into their RRIFs could actually do that without consequences.

The finance minister is ahead of the opposition by a long shot.

The Economy
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the minister seems to be out of ideas, might he reconsider the Bloc Québécois' suggestion to raise the age at which seniors are required to roll their RRSPs into RRIFs from 71 to 73?

The Economy
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, not only did we address that in the last budget by raising it from 69 to 71 when seniors could rollover their RRSPs into RRIFs, we came up with a novel idea, and that was a way for taxpayers to save their money tax-free. That is in the tax-free savings account.

We are encouraging seniors, when they are rolling out of their RRSPs, to open a tax free savings account that they can benefit from tax free.

Seniors
Oral Questions

November 21st, 2008 / 11:25 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, GM has just announced hundreds more layoffs, adding to the already volatile situation facing Canadians. Seniors are seeing their hard-earned pensions evaporate as the TSX falls day after day. Mutual funds take a hit with every point lost on the markets, yet the government has done nothing to protect the savings of Canadians.

Will the government protect pensions before there is nothing left to protect?

Seniors
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont
Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, regarding the auto industry, the minister has said that we need to see a plan from automakers and unions for the industry's long-term success. No one wants to be back where we are at a year from now.

Legislators in the U.S. said the same thing yesterday. They sent automakers back and told them to come back on December 2.

We need to see a solid, accountable business plan from automakers and their stakeholders.

Seniors
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, to add insult to injury, soon if people fall behind in a couple of payments, they will face a punishing 5% increase in credit card rates. The finance minister's response was another ineffective letter. The minister has failed to protect consumers on ATM fees, on outrageous text messaging fees and now on credit card interest rates.

Why is the government not standing up for Canadians? Why is it letting profitable banks exploit the pain of average people?

Seniors
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

In fact, Mr. Speaker, we are very proactive on this file. We have raised the issue with the banks, although the banks are their own governors. They decide how credit card fees are set.

We can encourage that. The finance minister was very successful in his interventions with the banking sector, but we do not regulate fees charged by financial sectors, nor should we.

Seniors
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is not being proactive if the government is leaving generations of Canadians behind, with no action on protecting seniors' pensions and no action on credit card hikes. Today Campaign 2000 is again forced to demand urgent action to combat poverty. Over 760,000 children, nearly 12% of all Canadian kids, live in poverty.

Where is the government's national poverty reduction strategy? Why is there no action for the poorest of Canadians, yet there are huge tax cuts for the richest of Canada's CEOs?

Seniors
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our government has been very clear that we want to work with our colleagues in the House to eliminate poverty.

That is why we have taken the many steps we have to ensure families, and especially children and seniors, are in a much better financial position. That is why we introduced the universal child care benefit. That is why we have lowered the GST, which, by the way, helps the lower income people the most. Certainly people who are not paying taxes would not benefit from tax cuts in the way the GST cuts help them.

We are doing this because we want to eliminate poverty.

Seniors
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, in this economic crisis seniors across Canada have seen their savings and pensions decimated. Seniors face uncertainty about how to pay their bills, their heat, their groceries and the government has offered them nothing: no plan, no action.

Since the Prime Minister offered his gratuitous stock tips that there are buying opportunities out there, the market has fallen by 20%, 765 points alone yesterday. The government's dithering and bad management only serve to prolong the anxiety and fears of seniors.

Where is the plan?

Seniors
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there are so many people wanting to answer this question that we have to decide who will stand up first.

Let me remind the hon. member and the House that it was this Conservative government that established a minister responsible for seniors issues. That was never done before in the 13 years under the Liberal government. Talk about a lack of respect for seniors.

We put a minister in place to look after seniors issues. We have allowed them pension income splitting.

Seniors
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, if there is a minister for seniors issues, where is he or she? For goodness' sake, the Prime Minister has demonstrated that he is incompetent in managing the nation's economy and as a stock tip adviser, he is a disaster.

Canadians have not seen this much carnage in the markets since income trusts, on which the Prime Minister misled Canadians.

The report from the Desjardins Group says that Canadians are going to have to push back their retirement by six years. Seniors deserve real answers from a minister or, indeed, anyone on that side.

What is the government going to do to now protect seniors? Where is the plan?