House of Commons Hansard #72 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, the challenges of a shrinking workforce over the next generation have been well documented. I could send the hon. member any number of studies in this regard.

That said, we have been very clear that, in balancing our budget, we will ensure we protect the current programs that seniors receive. There will not be a cent cut from pensioners or from those who are approaching retirement. At the same time, we will ensure that our programs are viable for future generations.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development tried to justify spending $30 billion on jet fighter planes by saying that they were needed against foreign invasions. No foreign powers will invade us to scoop our pension system because there will not be much of it left if the Conservatives have their way.

The Prime Minister refuses to come clean about his plans to cut the retirement income of Canadians. He can come clean today and answer the question we have been asking all week. Will he raise OAS eligibility to 67 years, yes or no?

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as we have said here many times, we want to ensure that the OAS system is viable in the long term. To do that, we are going to have to make some changes because of some change in demographics in our country. However, we are assuring Canadians, completely, that those seniors who are receiving OAS now will not lose a penny and those who are nearing retirement will not lose a penny. We are going to take care of them and future generations.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, this year the Conservatives handed out $3 billion in tax gifts to profitable large corporations. What could we do with $3 billion? We could pay old age security benefits for 462,000 Canadians. That is a lot of people.

There is enough money for tax gifts for large corporations, but now seniors will have to wait until the age of 67 to get their $540 a month? Yes or no?

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the NDP says that it wants to help seniors, yet it votes against every thing we have done to help them.

In spite of the NDP, we increased the age credit for seniors, not once but twice. We increased the GIS exemption, allowing poor seniors to keep more of the money they earned. The NDP voted against that too. We brought in pension income splitting to help seniors keep more of their own money and the NDP voted against it. It should stop voting against seniors.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am part of those future generations and let me just say that our social programs and services are important to me.

Future generations of pensioners will be most affected by any changes made to old age security. The provinces will also have to step up and help when seniors need more and more assistance.

Quebec was not even consulted. Not at all. What about consultations with the provinces, with pensioners, with workers? Is the eligibility age going to increase to 67, yes or no?

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we will protect old age security for our seniors. Those who are currently receiving benefits will not lose a cent. However, we need to ensure the sustainability of the system for future generations. That is exactly what we plan to do.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the Prime Minister could explain this, now that two spokesmen, the Minister of Finance and parliamentary secretary, have both confirmed today that the budget will in fact contain measures that will deal with the future costs of pensions in Canada.

Could the Prime Minister tell us, in light of his first answer today, if he was aware that there was such a demographic challenge? It did not just arise yesterday. It did not arise last week. It did not even arise just before he went to Davos. People have known about this for years.

Why did the Prime Minister not deal with this question? Why did—

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for Toronto Centre has the floor.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, these rabbit tracks do not bother me at all. Really, it is irrelevant.

Why would the Prime Minister not have shared this question with the Canadian people in an election? He had a chance to go in an election, he says that he was looking for a mandate, why did he not have a mandate—

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, the member for Toronto Centre is asking us to table the budget earlier. He will receive that news in due course.

We made very clear commitments to the Canadian people. We are balancing our budget. We are very clear that we will not cut pensions of our seniors. Those will be absolutely protected as we balance the budget.

At the same time, the government is looking well beyond the life of this Parliament and how we can ensure our programs are viable for future generations.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry to tell the Prime Minister directly, but it is not clear to us, on this side of the House, that he will be in power after 2015. It is not clear that this will be the case. Thus, he must acknowledge that he is a politician just like any other. I would even call him the interim Prime Minister, in office only until 2015.

Does he believe that he controls the fate of all pensions until 2030, 2040 or 2050? He is not Louis XVI.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!