House of Commons Hansard #124 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

PensionsOral Questions

May 15th, 2012 / 2:15 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it will not take effect. They will have been thrown out of office before then.

The Conservatives want to pick the pockets of our seniors and take $12,000 from each one of them. That is what this means for our seniors. The Conservatives want to force them to work two extra years. That might cost $10 billion or even $12 billion.

What are the real figures? Why are the Conservatives refusing to disclose them? We know why. If the Conservatives disclose these figures, then everyone will know the simple truth: that the system is sustainable and there is no reason to add two years and take $12,000 from every senior.

PensionsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, again, our seniors and our retirees know the truth. Their pensions are not being cut in this budget. On the contrary, the eligibility age will not change until 2023.

Next year, seniors will have the opportunity to delay receiving their OAS in order to increase the amount they receive. They have that option.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance's remarks about OAS were not the only disturbing comments he made yesterday afternoon.

When asked whether unemployed teachers and nurses should be forced to take any job that comes along or be taken off EI, the minister said, “There is no bad job. The only bad job is not having a job.”

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I will ask hon. members to hold off on their applause until the Leader of the Opposition has finished his question.

The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister said, “There is no bad job. The only bad job is not having a job. So I drove a taxi--”

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please.

The hon. Leader of the Opposition has the floor.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

“There is no bad job. The only bad job is not having a job.”

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. We will have to make up the time somewhere else.

The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, then he went on to say that he had driven a taxi and refereed hockey.

Does the Prime Minister actually agree that our teachers and our nurses should be taking jobs driving taxis rather than being given a chance to look for work in their own field?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I remind the leader of the NDP of the superior employment creation record of the country. When compared across the developed world, we have created 750,000 net new jobs since the recovery began. Those jobs are overwhelmingly private sector. They are overwhelmingly full-time and they are overwhelmingly well paying.

We want to make sure going forward that people continue to have those opportunities. We anticipate that labour shortage is going to be a serious concern in the Canadian economy in the years to come. We want to make sure all Canadians have the opportunity to get the kind of work they need.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance also went on to say that we are going to have significant labour shortages in this country. The solution? “That means we are going to have to encourage more persons with disabilities to work, more seniors to work.... We need to get rid of disincentives in the employment insurance system...”

Could the Prime Minister tell us how retirement is a disincentive, how living with a disability is a disincentive? The only disincentive here is the Conservatives hurling insults at seniors and people with disabilities. They should be ashamed of themselves.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, one of the things that has changed very positively in the course of my lifetime has been our realization that people we call disabled are able to do a whole range of functions that every Canadian can do. An example of that is right before all of us, right here in the Minister of State for Transport, who is able to be Minister of State for Transport.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, their attitude is reprehensible and nasty. What they are really doing is attacking people with disabilities. People with disabilities are not asking for anything more than to take their place in society. This government should be helping these people, rather than calling them lazy. That is what this government is doing.

Why attack our seniors? Seniors should not be a source of cheap labour because this government wants to force them to delay their retirement so it can steal $12,000 from each of them.

Why are the Conservatives attacking seniors and people with a disability instead of helping them?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, it is the Leader of the Opposition who thinks that people with a disability should be unemployed. On the contrary, in the course of my lifetime, I have learned what people with a disability are capable of when they are given the right opportunities.

A perfect example of this is the Minister of State for Transport, a minister of the Crown. People with a disability are willing to do their part and participate fully in our society's labour force.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, for most governments, George Orwell's 1984 is not exactly a guide to action. It is supposed to be a cautionary tale.

Yesterday the Minister of Foreign Affairs admitted that the reason the government had cut off the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy was because it was providing advice with which the government disagreed. The National Council of Welfare is also providing advice with which the government disagrees. Many charities are currently being attacked and pilloried by the government because they are doing things with which the government disagrees.

Does the Prime Minister not realize that he has to listen to people with whom he disagrees?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have to listen to the leader of the Liberal Party every day.

In reviewing the range of in-house research that is undertaken by various agencies and operations of the Government of Canada, we are making sure that we find administrative savings. Obviously, where expertise is already available within departments or outside departments, we do not need to duplicate that work. Those are the measures the government has taken in this particular economic action plan.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have to say that neither I nor the members in this corner of the House have ever had the sense that either the government or the Prime Minister listen to us. They do not give me that impression.

His answer is completely different from the frank and candid answer we got from the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Yesterday, the minister revealed what is really going on with this Parliament and this government: they are smothering everything they hear from people they do not agree with.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I can listen to the leader of the Liberal Party, but I still have to use common sense.

When deciding what changes to make in this budget, the government looked at research sources within departments and outside departments. Obviously, we do not want research duplication. That is what the government is doing in its economic action plan.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, this morning the Auditor General, in speaking to the public accounts committee, reaffirmed every piece of information that is contained in his report with respect to the difference in his opinion between what information should have been given to Parliament and what information should have been given to the people of Canada, and what information was not in fact given to Parliament and that information that was not correct was given to Parliament.

My question, once again, is for the Prime Minister. How can we possibly carry on with a situation when the Auditor General of Canada is telling us that Parliament has not been given accurate information?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as we have said many times before, we have accepted the analysis of the Auditor General and we are acting on his recommendations.

Far from carrying on, the government has indicated that it is making a number of changes. It will undertake a multi-step process before proceeding with this particular purchase. We have not yet bought any aircraft or signed any contract.

We will ensure that we obtain all the information that is necessary and give that information to Parliament before deciding on how to proceed.

PensionsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked the government how much money it was planning to steal from seniors by increasing the age of eligibility for old age security benefits. The Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development once again dodged the question.

The Minister of Finance even told the media that he was unsure, that he had not planned that far ahead and that it might be $10 billion or $12 billion.

Is there a minister who can give us the actual amount that the Conservatives are going to cut from old age security?

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, this budget does not make any cuts to old age security. We will be starting gradually in 2023 to change the age of eligibility from 65 to 67.

Starting next year, seniors will be able to collect more benefits if they so choose. If they want to, they can receive more benefits than they are receiving now.