House of Commons Hansard #33 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was benefits.

Topics

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, may I just say, in defence of my hon. colleague from the NDP, I believe he was standing during the introduction of private members' bills. We saw him quite clearly stand during that portion of routine proceedings but, unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, you did not recognize him.

I am not sure if the members from the Bloc Québécois understood that the member was standing. I would wonder if now we could get unanimous consent to revert to the introduction of private members' bills to accommodate the hon. member from the NDP.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is there unanimous consent to revert to the introduction of private members' bills?

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Country of Origin Labelling Act
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-346, An Act respecting Country of Origin Labelling.

Mr. Speaker, I want to deeply thank my hon. colleague from across the floor for his demonstration of grace and collegiality. I appreciate that.

I am honoured to rise today to introduce a bill that would mandate the labelling of country of origin on all food products.

Currently, the system of labelling is haphazard and unclear. Country of origin does not always mean that. It could mean the country of assembly or the country of origin of some ingredients. Families cannot make informed choices about the foods they buy. Perhaps they want to buy Canadian or perhaps they want to avoid food from a certain country for ethical or health reasons or even buy food from a particular country to support producers there. They may wish to buy fair trade or support locally grown products but they currently are unable to make these choices. My bill would give consumers a voice and that is something that all members should support.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Fish Labelling Act
Routine Proceedings

March 25th, 2009 / 3:25 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-347, An Act respecting the Labelling of Fish.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce a bill concerning the labelling of seafood products.

My bill would mandate producers and importers to place a label on all seafood products identifying them as either farmed or wild. This is particularly important with respect to salmon on the west coast of our country. Many of us want to make health conscious choices but, when it comes to seafood and salmon, there is little information available for us to make an informed choice. In many cases, farmed shellfish have a large environmental impact and wild fish is often better for the environment.

This bill is a major step in allowing families to choose what they eat and what they feed their children. Many people want to choose wild fish but are unable to make an informed decision.

A number of organizations, such as Living Oceans Society, which is a great advocate of healthy and sustainable seas, have called for legislation like this. I support their calls and urge all members to vote in favour of my bill.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all notices of motions for the production of papers be allowed to stand.

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Bill C-201--Canadian Forces Superannuation Act
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. On February 25, 2009, you invited members to comment on whether Bill C-201 would require a royal recommendation. Without commenting on the merits of this private member's bill, it is the government's view that our constitutional provisions and parliamentary procedures require that this bill be accompanied by a royal recommendation.

Mr. Speaker, you have made numerous rulings that bills which change the criteria for a benefit payment or which increase the amount of a benefit payment must be accompanied by a royal recommendation. This is because the change or increase would modify Parliament's previous authorization for payment requiring new spending. Any bills which require new spending must be accompanied by a royal recommendation.

I will explain how these rulings apply to Bill C-201.

Because of the nature of their jobs, many Canadian Forces and RCMP members retire prior to reaching the age of 65. The acts governing their pension plans allow for the start of pension benefits before the age of 65. Pension benefits for members whose age is less than 65 include two parts: a lifetime benefit, which is consistent from the time of retirement through the member's lifetime; and a bridge benefit, which tops up the pension until a member reaches 65 and becomes eligible for Canada pension plan benefits. This is roughly equivalent to what the member will receive under the CPP when he or she reaches age 65.

At age 65, the bridge benefit is eliminated through a reduction formula in subsection 15(2) of the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act, for retired members of the Canadian Forces, and in subsection 10(2) of the RCMP Superannuation Act, for retired members of the RCMP.

At age 65, members are eligible for Canada pension plan payments, which offsets the elimination of the bridge benefit. The total pension amount remains essentially unchanged, but it is received from two sources: the Canadian Forces or RCMP pension plan itself, and the Canada pension plan.

Bill C-201 would repeal the subsections which eliminate the bridge benefit. This would mean that members age 65 and older would collect their lifetime pension benefits, the bridge benefits, and the Canada pension plan benefits. In other words, the bill would result in an increase in pension benefits for members age 65 and older.

By increasing the demand on the Canadian Forces and RCMP pension plans in order to continue paying the bridge benefit to those over age 65, the bill would require new spending.

For the Canadian Forces, this bill would create a one-time lump sum past service liability of $5.5 billion and increase the ongoing annual cost of the plan, amounting to a $74 million increase for the 2009-10 fiscal year.

For the RCMP, the bill would create a one-time past service liability of $1.7 billion and increase the ongoing annual cost of a plan amounting to a $36 million increase for the 2009-10 fiscal year.

There may be a suggestion that these increased costs could simply be paid out of the current pension account and therefore would not trigger the need for a royal recommendation; however, this would not be accurate. The Canadian Forces Superannuation Act and the RCMP Superannuation Act set out pension accounts and provide that benefits payable under the provisions of the acts are paid from the consolidated revenue fund and the respective pension funds on an ongoing basis. The acts also specify that the government must make up any shortfall.

The transactions and balances of the accounts are reported annually in the public accounts of Canada, and the obligation to pay accrued pension benefits is reported as a liability of the Government of Canada. Contribution rates were established for the Canadian Forces and RCMP pension plans to fund the current benefit arrangements and not the more generous benefit that would be created by Bill C-201.

If employee and employer contribution rates are increased in order to fund the more generous benefit, the increase to the employer's portion would necessarily increase demand on the consolidated revenue fund, and if contribution rates are not changed, demand on the consolidated revenue fund would increase since the acts specify the government must make up any shortfall.

In conclusion, the amendments in the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act and the RCMP Superannuation Act proposed by Bill C-201 would clearly require significant additional and distinct expenditures not authorized by the current acts. The bill therefore must be accompanied by a royal recommendation.

Bill C-201--Canadian Forces Superannuation Act
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, we understand fully that the bill we have put forward does require a royal recommendation.

The reality is we are talking about citizens who serve and protect our nation overseas and within our borders. I think any allocation of the Queen's resources definitely could be well spent and allocated to the people who serve us. The men and women of our armed forces and RCMP are our greatest Canadian citizens. We should be doing everything we can to assist them, especially on their retirement.

Considering the positive nature of the bill, I look forward to the government following the issue of the royal recommendation quite closely.

Bill C-201--Canadian Forces Superannuation Act
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I will of course examine the matter and come back with a definitive ruling on it. It sounds as though the proposer of the bill thinks it needs a royal recommendation. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons seems to think it does. I will examine the matter and give a ruling in due course.

In any event, the bill can proceed until the third reading stage. It is only at the third reading stage when there would not be a vote if I make the finding that has been suggested by both hon. members. I will examine it.