Mr. Speaker, I will be shifting a little, but in many ways these two are linked in how we as a government believe that people who commit violent offences such as murder are very much linked with the missing and murdered aboriginal women's piece too. However, we are talking about Bill C-591, introduced by my hon. colleague. From the comments by the opposition, it appears that all parties will support this.
The bill would amend the Canada Pension Plan and the Old Age Security Act and deny CPP survivor benefits and the OAS allowance to people convicted of murdering their spouse, common-law partner or parent. As the member for Chatham-Kent—Essex and others have pointed out, no one wants to see spouse killers receive taxpayer-funded financial benefits for their heinous act. It truly would be an insult to the taxpayer. It is an insult to the families of the victims as well as an insult to the principles of justice. Certainly no person who pays taxes and personally contributes to an insurance plan wants to see murderers receive a benefit for killing someone.
Currently, when someone murders their spouse for whatever reason, he or she stand to gain those benefits. Thankfully we are speaking of a very rare situation. Death at the hands of family members is not that common and the convicted murderers are not always eligible for these benefits anyway.
However, each year between 2003 and 2012, an average of 21 individuals in all age categories were accused of killing their parent or step-parent. Among them were approximately 5 to 6 persons accused who were between the ages of 18 and 25 and 3 of the accused were under the age of 18. That is absolutely appalling.
It is important to remember that many people accused of killing a spouse or parent are not found guilty of murder and among those convicted of murder, some do not qualify for these benefits in any case. Of these people, roughly half would be rendered ineligible for the CPP survivor pension and death benefit, one-third for the OAS allowance for the survivor and less than one-tenth for the surviving child benefit.
I will emphasize that fewer than 30 people each year would be affected in the context of a public pension system in which the CPP alone gives coverage to 13 million contributors per year. Again, it is a very small number.
We are proceeding carefully with the bill because we want to be fair.
It is important to note the legislation will only apply to people who have been convicted of murder rather than all those who are charged with murder. That is a basic principle of common law, that a person accused of crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.