Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for raising the question this evening. It allows me the opportunity to discuss all of the great things that this government has done for seniors in the past and over the past two years.
I know that the hon. member cares deeply about these issues and I want to assure her that this government does as well.
Unfortunately, under the watch of the previous Liberal government, Statistics Canada did make a small error in the calculation of the consumer price index. This is a tool that measures inflation and calculates pension benefits for seniors. Earlier this year, Statistics Canada corrected this error and the consumer price index continues to serve as Canada's best and most accurate tool to measure inflation.
Like all western countries, Canada does not retroactively adjust the consumer price index. Retroactive adjustments to the consumer price index would result in administrative chaos. It would affect private and public pension plans, labour force agreements and many other agreements that use the CPI.
We know that the members of the NDP do not have to worry about the long term effects of their words because they will never form the government. However, we must worry about these effects.
If my hon. friend and her colleagues will not take the word of the government on this issue, perhaps they would like to listen to the International Labour Organization which confirmed that long term ramifications of retroactively changing the CPI would have a devastating effect on countless social programs that Canadians rely on.
I am sure the member knows that when it comes to honouring the contributions that Canadian seniors have made to their communities, the economy and the country, no government in history has done a better job than the one under this Prime Minister. Seniors know that actions speak louder than words. This is why this government acted quickly to support seniors issues. It is why within months of being elected this government introduced Bill C-36 to strengthen the CPP and OAS programs for all seniors.
We have simplified the application process and changed the rules so that seniors do not have to apply year after year for the benefits that they deserve. These are changes which the previous Liberal government never made during its 13 years in power.
We have brought in two separate 3.5% increases to the GIS. These increases will raise the total GIS benefit by more than $2.7 billion over the next five years and will benefit more than 1.6 million guaranteed income supplement recipients, including more than 50,000 seniors who were not eligible for the program under the previous Liberal government.
This is a record of action of which this government is very proud.