Mr. Speaker, I am happy to enter into this debate on the NDP motion. As I read it over before getting up to speak, and also in researching my speech, I was taken aback by one profound thing. The money people contribute off their paycheques into the Canada pension plan does not belong to legislators or the government.
That money is left with the government in trust and people are concerned about that aspect in and of itself. It is not our money to play with. It is no different than other people's money that is held in trust, whether it is through an estate or other fiduciary relationship. It is given to the government in trust and the trust is allocated in such a way that its orientation is to invest people's money in the best way possible so that they will get a return on their investment.
Why is that important? It is very important because the whole concept of the CPP, originally founded in 1967, was to ensure that those people who were working would be able to put aside certain amounts of money for their retirement. It addressed people who were unable or could not save, and so forth.
It was kind of a forced savings and it is one of the pillars of our pension system. We have the old age pension, the Canada pension plan and private pensions. Unfortunately, many people do not have the last one, that is private pensions. In fact, there are those in our country who do not have the second one either, the Canada pension plan. There are many people simply trying to live on the old age pension which is very difficult to do.
The other aspect--and I speak from one of my previous vocations, a certified financial planner--is that in Canada we are witnessing that people are retiring a lot younger than they ever did before through voluntary retirement, and some would suggest forced retirement. The flip side of that is that we are living longer so the retirement years are becoming more extenuated.
Canadians are looking toward to those retirement years and are starting to ask a lot of questions about the CPP. One of the questions they are asking is: “Will we have enough income to live in dignity and respect?”
The NDP motion is sort of circular because it talks about activities that are contrary to Canadian values. It does not spell out what Canadian values are and certainly, Canadian values are not that a lot of our seniors should live in poverty.
It is incumbent upon us, from an administrative point of view of the Canada pension plan, to ensure that these moneys are invested effectively and efficiently so they generate the best possible return.
That does not mean that people who are entrusted with the money can invest in illegal activities. They cannot obviously invest in the drug trade or anything else that would possibly pay higher returns. They must invest in a milieu within our country which ensures that they go through an institutional order. We have a rule of law in the country.
They are required to invest through recognized stock exchanges and through the rule of law. I challenge the New Democratic Party, or anybody else who supports this motion, to point out to me any company that the CPP board has invested in that is carrying on an illegal activity in the country.
It is not for the investment board to make judgment calls on what is or what is not a good investment. It is simply a matter of that determination taking place in the general public and through our legal system. If something is an illegal activity then obviously the company would be reviewed and adjudicated and so forth. That is not a concern of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
I want to expand on this aspect of retirement years. I am 57. I was born in 1946. I see myself on the leading edge of the so-called baby boom generation.
I have talked to a lot of people of my generation. They say their major concern is that they will not have enough money to retire. It is a terrible thing to think that people are concerned that they will live too long, but that is a possibility. There has been so much medical science in our country that it has allowed people to live better and healthier lives for a longer time. However, at the same time, people are worried that it has been too successful, that they will live to the point where they cannot afford to carry on a normal lifestyle.
There are other areas where this kind of thing has happened in government. Government pension plans in the civil service, historically--