Mr. Speaker, I welcome the comments of the parliamentary secretary. I would guess that a bill like this works into the overall context of coming up with fair taxation policies between all the countries of the world, and this is just the latest instalment. It brings Canada into agreement with a number of countries to ensure that people are treated fairly. This is presumably a step forward for Canadians who live in Gabon or those from Gabon who live in Canada as well as the other countries mentioned.
I was interested in what the parliamentary secretary had to say on the bill. The contents of the bill are perfectly reasonable and of course are a step in the right direction. I hope the parliamentary secretary would agree with me that more has to be done between Canada and other countries of the world.
I would like to bring to his attention one of the unfairnesses that exists between Canada and, my example, that of the United Kingdom.
There is a treaty between Canada and Great Britain that protects individuals against double taxation. Of course that would be a very important one. As important as the countries are, as listed by the parliamentary secretary, hundreds of thousands of people who originally lived or were citizens of the United Kingdom now reside in Canada and vice versa. It is a very important relationship.
Therefore, I would like to bring to his attention a matter that has been brought to my attention. That is the treatment of pensions of individuals who live in one or the other countries. Specifically, I have individuals in my riding, and of course individuals throughout Canada, who have obtained a pension from the United Kingdom for whatever reason, but those pensions are not indexed. We have the situation where people may have emigrated from Britain say in 1970, they become entitled to a British pension, but their pensions are not indexed. Once one makes inquiries as to why they are not indexed, they say that there is no reciprocal treaty between Canada and the United Kingdom.
For instance, if a Canadian goes to the United Kingdom, there is no arrangements to have these pensions indexed. It seems to me that might be an area for the parliamentary secretary and the department to look into. We want to ensure that Canadians who live in Great Britain and British citizens who live in Canada get every benefit.
I know if one is entitled to American social security, that is indexed even though one is a resident of Canada and likewise if one is a Canadian citizen living in the United States. There is no problem with the indexing of Canadian pensions.
My understanding is that all this would take is an agreement that both countries would do it for the residents of each other's country. It seems in line with what the parliamentary secretary said about increasing the fairness to citizens who live abroad. This is something else I hope he would add to the list of things I am sure he is looking into.