Mr. Speaker, imagine being a senior citizen having worked hard all of your life and planned for a modest retirement on fixed income with just enough money to pay for essentials and drugs with a little bit left over to treat your grandchildren. Then imagine $2,000 or even $5,000 a year being yanked from your savings because the federal government signed a treaty with Washington.
Eighty thousand Canadian retirees face that very problem. Until 1996 these pensioners were taxed on 50% of their social security. Today it is 85%.
Last week I met with CASSE, a group appealing to their Windsor MP and the finance minister to restore the 50% exclusion in effect when they planned for their retirement. Because of the sudden drop in income, seniors are being forced to move into cheaper apartments, are being ejected from nursing homes and are suffering erosion of their modest lifestyles.
I call on the finance minister today to restore the 50% exclusion or at the very least grandfather this rule so that it will no longer punish people who are already retired.