He will need it. Much of the political and social disagreement concerning the Canada pension plan could be addressed through creating options. This is the area where the Liberal government has let us down. The government has the responsibility of leadership, not just patching over the cracks.
If it took over 30 years to get where we are on this road with the Canada pension plan, with the $600 billion deficiency, why in the name of heaven would we spend another day going down that road? Why would we want to patch over a plan that was flawed right from the beginning? People knew it was flawed. Why would we not use our best efforts to make this plan work much better for succeeding generations? That has to be the elemental question. Why put a band-aid on it? Why not do what needs to be done to fix it properly?
I mentioned earlier in questions and comments to other speakers that the Canada pension plan became a honey pot of money and entitlement that politicians found irresistible, rather like flies to honey.
The disability take up on the Canada pension plan has been surprisingly high over recent years. That is not terribly surprising because the take up rate on Canada pension plan disability has a direct correlation to the job market. When jobs are scarce people do what they have to do to survive.
One of the things that people have done, and that is why the take up rate on the disability side of the Canada pension plan is so high, has been to use it to provide an alternate source of income. Once this availability was established, government cannot turn on a dime and tell people it is sorry but the plan is no longer available.
Since the auditor general's report identified this as a particularly difficult problem for the Canada pension plan, the policing of the disability entitlement has been much more severe. As I mentioned earlier, over a 10-year period the Canada pension plan had a 92 per cent increase compared with the Quebec pension plan which had only a 2 per cent increase.
The disability community, persons who have long term, systemic disability, did not want the Canada pension plan disability tampered with because, quite rightly, it said that it has problems enough protecting itself from the ravages of the cuts to the Canada health and social transfer. To the credit of the government, the report on persons with disabilities by the member from Fredericton addresses some of the concerns very well.
There is a very real difference between Canadians who are in systemic, long term disability into which they are born or have suffered a tragic accident and people who take up disability because it is part of the pension plan privileges. We have combined the two. In hearings with persons with disabilities they would prefer not to be combined but they do not want to rock the boat now.
In my view, it is our responsibility to protect persons with disabilities. That is part of our common wealth. That is part of our responsibility one to another. That is how through our own independence our interdependence is strengthened. However, the two should not be confused. Insurance is insurance. The Canada pension plan is a pension plan. By allowing the Canada pension plan to become something that it was never designed to be puts increasing stress on its ability to fund what it was supposed to do in the first place, which is to be a pension plan.
If, as a society, we need to look at funding persons with disabilities, then let us also deal with that honestly. Let us put it on the table and see how it can best be done economically and ensure that people who must take up the provisions of disability insurance get into and out of the program.
That has been duplicated already because every province has a workers' compensation board. The provincial and federal governments need to work together to ensure that every single citizen gets the best return on the common investment. However, they should not trickle down responsibilities from one order of government to another. Citizens should not have to shop to see where they can get support. They should not have to make a disability premium payment to an insurance company only to find that the insurance company will not pay until after they have been able to collect from the federal program.
I anticipate some well thought and well founded questions from members opposite. I hope that when they ask the questions they will keep in mind that this is a particularly poor return on investment for young Canadians who must bear the burden of the debt that they will inherit also.
I would ask members opposite to get their calculators out and tell Canadians what return would come on a 40-year investment of $1,000 per year at an average rate of return of the equity markets in Canada and tell me that is not better than the CPP deal.