Madam Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise again to speak to Bill C-25, the pooled registered pension plans act.
First, I would like to respond to the last Liberal speaker. When I listened to him, I wondered if there were warning bells that there would be a merger between the NDP and Liberals. Maybe he was talking about that. I wish them the best of luck.
Coming back to the business of the pension plan, I will speak to the NDP position later on. Right now I will speak about the Liberal position, which is typical. The Liberals are speaking out of both sides of their mouths. They like this, but they want to do that. What do they want to do?
Let me tell them this. They should not mislead Canadians when they speak about the CPP.
We should look at the CPP legislation. CPP can only be amended by the consensus of two-thirds of the provinces, representing two-thirds of the population. That is how one can change CPP, and not by what the Liberal Party has said. The Liberals can talk about anything they want, but it will not change the fact that CPP can only be changed when two-thirds of the provinces agree to change it. We should be honest about it.
The provincial finance ministers, at their 2010 meeting, had strong objections to changes to the CPP. Maybe the Liberals should take that fact into consideration. The provinces have a strong objection to changing CPP in the way in which the member keeps speaking about as a good way to change it. For that reason, they will support it but they want CPP.
Yet, as was pointed out, the NDP government in Manitoba is different from the federal NDP opposition. However, all provincial finance ministers agreed that this was the right way to go. I am sorry to say that the objections made by the Liberals against this bill hold no water. It is typical Liberal rhetoric. They are sitting on both sides of the fence.
I will talk about the NDP's opposition to the bill. The NDP is now a party with its head in the sand. I look at what the NDP leader has said. He has been talking about the Dutch disease, creating division between resource rich provinces and so-called manufacturing provinces, not understanding that resources and manufacturing are intertwined.
The provincial economies in Canada are intertwined. Yet the Leader of the Opposition is going around the country and talking about the Dutch disease, saying that the resource sector is destroying the economy of the province of Quebec where he was born. He said that it was destroying manufacturing jobs in Quebec. What narrow thinking. The NDP is aspiring to be the Government of Canada? That is the most dangerous scenario one can think about happening in our country.
If the Liberal members would like to join the NDP, I would ask them to think about this. Do they want to join a party that is sowing division in our country? We have one of the best mobility systems in the world, considering Canada's economic situation compared with other countries. We can move from eastern Canada to western Canada within days and have everything transferred.
We have an economic system that benefits the whole country. Yet, what did the NDP leader say? He is blasting the resource rich provinces. Now he has also changed and is hitting northern Ontario. He does not like the forestry sector there.
I can tell the House that he will quickly change his tune when it applies to his province of Quebec. What kind of leadership is being displayed by the so-called Leader of the Opposition, whom some have termed the “prime minister in waiting?”
As long as I am on this side, we will fight tooth and nail to make sure Canadians understand how divisive that party is. That is why it comes as no surprise that the NDP opposes this legislation. When the NDP opposes something, we know we are on the right track.
Let me get back to talking about the pooled registered retirement. Those who have a business background know the value of having this pooled registered pension plan.
My wife ran a business for 15 years. I worked for the city and helped her with her business. I had a government pension plan then and I have a government pension plan even now, and so do many Canadians. Canadians who work for big corporations have a pension plan. After putting 15 years of hard labour into her business, my wife has no pension because there was no vehicle available to her. All she can do is put money into RRSPs to help her out with her pension planning because that is her only vehicle. When I talked to her about this pooled plan, she wanted to know why nobody had brought this idea forward before. Why did it take so long?
All provinces unanimously support this. Not all Canadians will benefit from this plan, but it will reach those people who have been left out, who do not have any other tools like we have. This plan would fill the crack in their retirement planning.
This plan is a strong tool. It would allow a portion of Canadians, those who are self-employed and those who cannot enter into this, the opportunity to have another vehicle for their long-term retirement plan. What is wrong with that picture? I do not understand what those members find wrong with that.
I hear members talking about the fee, saying they think it would be high. Let me get this straight. Those members are going to oppose a very good plan that would benefit thousands of Canadians because they think the fee would be high. Let me be clear. They do not have any proof that it would be high.
This plan would be based on experience, based on pooled resources and based on this being under an act of legislation. Those would ensure we get the best money for this pension plan. In the long term it would help thousands of Canadians in their retirement, which is key.
The opposition will fearmonger again about our government raising the retirement age from 65 to 67 to qualify for OAS. That does not apply to those who are currently getting it or will be getting it in the near future. We have to look at the long term.
On June 2, I will have been in the House for 15 years. When I was on the other side, we debated the Canada pension plan when the issue was raised by the government of the day. At that time, the Liberals sat on this side of the House. We changed to reflect the increase. We recognized that the Canada pension plan needed to be changed because otherwise it would not be there in the long term for Canadians.
Today, instead of raising the premiums, which would impact the fragile economic recovery, all we are saying is that the age be deferred from 65 to 67. This would apply to the younger population. This would provide them with enough time and tools to continue to build a retirement savings plan, which would be there for them when they retire. The plan will not be bankrupt.
To the Liberal who keeps talking about seniors, I am telling him to use the word correctly, when he is talking about 65 to 70. This is for the younger generation coming up. The current seniors and the seniors we will be getting in the next short period of time are not impacted. However, that is not what he is going to talk about because it does not fit into his agenda.
However, I am happy to note, irrespective of whatever they say, at least they will vote with us, so that by itself is a positive factor.