House of Commons Hansard #70 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pension.

Topics

Pensions
Oral Questions

January 31st, 2012 / 2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, seniors are worried about their future, but they are also worried about the future of their children and their grandchildren. Yes, they will not retire for a long time. We know that. However, today seniors know too well how difficult it can be to make ends meet. Our seniors have worked hard to give a better life for future generations.

Why is the Prime Minister going to make it harder for them by cutting the OAS?

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, the government has been repeatedly clear when it comes to retirement income like as old age security. We have no intention of changing any benefits. In fact, seniors will continue to receive everything that they are receiving and expecting.

At the same time, younger generations expect us to ensure the system is viable for them. That is a responsibility this government takes very seriously.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister surprised everyone, including government experts, by targeting the old age security benefit. A report commissioned by this government shows that Canada is not facing a crisis related to the funding of public pension plans. I am referring to the Whitehouse report. I would advise the Prime Minister to read it.

Why does the Prime Minister want to reduce the deficit at the expense of the retirees of today and tomorrow?

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, demographic changes are putting pressure on our retirement income system and on many other programs. This has been clearly documented by a number of experts. This government will act to ensure that our programs are viable for all generations to come.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are attacking the $540 that seniors are able to receive each month through old age security. This is a bad decision. The Prime Minister appointed 47 senators to the upper house, each of whom will receive a generous retirement pension. That money represents old age security benefits for an additional 14,000 seniors.

During the last election, the Conservatives said that they would not touch any money intended for seniors. Why the betrayal? Why is the government demonstrating such a lack of respect for seniors? Why is it breaking its promise?

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we promised Canadians that we would maintain their old age security benefits, and that is exactly what we are going to do. Everyone who is currently receiving benefits will continue to do so. However, we have to consider future generations, and that is what we are going to do.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the future is by forcing seniors to work to age 67 and that will take $30,000 away from low-income seniors.

The government has a choice. A single F-35 costs $450 million. That would pay OAS benefits for 70,000 Canadian seniors. Its prison plan costs $19 billion. That would pay annual benefits for 2.9 million Canadians seniors. The Conservatives say costly prisons and fighter jets are their priority. We say seniors are more important.

Why are the Conservatives cutting future benefits for seniors? If they keep down this road, it is good-bye Charlie Brown.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, if the NDP members are really so concerned about seniors, then they should have voted for the pension income splitting. They should have voted for increasing the age credit for seniors not once but twice. They should have voted for the biggest increase in the guaranteed income supplement that we made last spring, which helps our poorest seniors. Their actions speak a whole lot louder than their words.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, at the time of the last election, the Prime Minister's party put out an election platform that said, “we will not cut transfer payments to individuals or to the provinces for essential things like health care, education, and pensions”.

I wonder if the Prime Minister can tell us this. He talked in Davos about a demographic crisis and he talked about it again today. Many experts disagree with the Prime Minister, many experts whose studies were commissioned by his own government. Was the Prime Minister aware of this so-called demographic crisis at the time that he and his party made the election promise they made just a few short months ago?

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, this government has made it very clear that we will protect the programs of the provinces and individuals in terms of what we are doing. We have been very clear about this. Seniors will continue to receive everything that they are expecting. We are absolutely clear about that.

At the same time, we do have a responsibility to future generations. The leader of the Liberal Party can pretend there is no problem in the future. This government has the responsibility of ensuring that we take care of seniors today and also take care of future generations, and that is what we will do.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and I have a rather different definition of the words, “taking care of”. For those who were born in 1951, or 1955, or 1956 or 1957, there is not a soul out there who knows exactly how they are going to be taken care of by the Conservative government. The odd definition of taking care means it is deep-sixing benefits for people who thought they were going to get them and who were told by the Prime Minister—

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to taking care of people, we have two examples. One is how this government is taking care of people during this recession and how the Ontario government under his leadership took care of people during that recession.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a simple question for the Prime Minister.

Can the Prime Minister tell us whether he was aware of the demographic problem and whether he knew that, in the future, he was going to cut pensions and raise the retirement age? If he was aware of these things, why did he not reveal his entire plan to Canadians? Why did he decide to hide what he wanted to do and what he intends to do now?

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government has made it clear that we will protect our seniors' income. This is a clear commitment that we made to the people of Canada, and we intend to keep it. At the same time, we have a responsibility to future generations and we are going to take action to secure their future.

I have a question for the leader of the Liberal Party at the same time. Why, if the Liberals care so much about seniors and pensions, do they vote against every improvement we make for seniors and pensions in our country, including today. Even today they are trying to block the pooled registered pension plan that is supported by every province in the country. Why are they always voting against things for seniors?