House of Commons Hansard #116 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cpp.

Topics

150th Anniversary of ConfederationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by a number of representatives from my riding of Dufferin—Caledon, particularly veterans from the Orangeville Legion, who are concerned with the plans for the 150th anniversary of Confederation, which is approaching next year. They point out that medals have been issued previously, in 1867, 1927, 1967, 1992, and awarded to deserving Canadians to commemorate Confederation and the 60th, 100th, and 125th anniversaries of Confederation.

These petitioners, who are citizens of Canada, are calling on the Government of Canada to issue a commemorative medal as part of the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

FisheriesPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table a petition for my home province of British Columbia. Petitioners are calling on the government to help save wild salmon by supporting my bill, Bill C-228, which transitions harmful open net salmon farms in British Columbia to safe, reliable, closed-containment systems.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present petitions today, again from residents of my home province of British Columbia. Petitioners are opposed to Kinder Morgan's new bitumen-based, export only, crude oil pipeline which will run from Edmonton to Burnaby. Among other things, they are concerned about the damage the pipeline will cause to our environment.

Although the rules of the House do not allow me to endorse a petition, I am happy to table it today, and I urge the government to listen to these petitioners before it makes a final decision.

Physician-Assisted DyingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Falk Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present two petitions from folks who are very concerned with the physician-assisted suicide legislation that was recently passed. Petitioners aks that the Parliament of Canada enshrine in the Criminal Code the protection of conscience for physicians and health care institutions from coercion or intimidation to provide or refer for physician-assisted suicide.

PovertyPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Brigitte Sansoucy NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise once again in the House today to table a petition signed by many Canadians who support Bill C-245, so that we can immediately implement a poverty reduction strategy.

I have collected so many signatures from people across Canada because Canadians can see just by looking around them that 1.3 million children in this country are living in poverty, that one in eight families need the help of a food bank to put food on the table each month, and that 35,000 Canadians are homeless.

I think that, when they go back to their ridings, all MPs in the House will see just how many people are living in poverty.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to deliver two petitions in opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline. They have been signed by constituents of Courtenay—Alberni, coastal British Columbia, and people from coast to coast.

Petitioners point out that Kinder Morgan is planning to build a new heavy oil pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby, tripling the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline to 890,000 barrels a day. The pipeline brings massive environmental and economic risk, but no substantial benefit to British Columbia, the City of Burnaby, or local residents. Petitioners are therefore calling on the Government of Canada to immediately act to prevent this new oil pipeline from proceeding through Burnaby.

Falun GongPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present two petitions.

The first petition pertains to a critical issue of human rights globally, and that is the treatment of Falun Dafa and Falun Gong practitioners within the People's Republic of China. The petition is signed by numerous petitioners from British Columbia, from Vancouver as well as Burnaby and Nanaimo, so Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland. The petitioners are concerned for human rights, and that the government and this Parliament take action to defend practitioners of Falun Dafa and Falun Gong.

HousingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

The second petition, Mr. Speaker, is primarily from residents within Saanich—Gulf Islands: from Mayne Island, Saanich, Sydney, Salt Spring.

The petitioners are calling for the government to follow the advice of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and urgently move to an affordable housing strategy. I note that there is work in this area now, but these petitioners want to see the affordable housing strategy put in place.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

November 28th, 2016 / 3:15 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand at this time.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-26, An Act to amend the Canada Pension Plan, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act and the Income Tax Act, as reported (without amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Resuming debate, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health has six minutes remaining in her speech.

3:15 p.m.

Brampton West Ontario

Liberal

Kamal Khera LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, thank you for allowing me to continue my speech on an extremely important piece of legislation.

As I was saying, last week, one of my constituents said to me, “If it is this difficult now, what will I do when I retire and need to live on a fixed income? What will our grandchildren do, and how will they support themselves in their retirement?”

This is a real and growing concern for middle-class Canadians. The cost of living in Canada is rising. The cost of food is increasing, particularly healthy foods. The cost of leasing an apartment is rising. Transportation costs are going up. These trends are expected to continue, and these trends will increasingly burden Canadian families in their retirement years.

As a result of technological advancements, Canadians are living longer and healthier lives. In 1971, a 65-year-old Canadian was expected to live to the age of 79. Today, the expectation has risen to the age 87. The numbers continue to improve, continue to rise. However, this also increases the risk that Canadians will outlive their savings.

Today, 1.1 million Canadian families with major income earners approaching retirement are at risk of not having enough saved for their retirement. This is about a quarter of families approaching retirement. We need to take action to help ensure that this trend does not continue.

Fewer Canadians have access to a workplace pension plan, and even fewer have access to a defined benefit workplace pension plan. In 1981, about 34% of private sector employees had workplace pension plans. Today, this figure is close to 24% and continues to drop.

After working hard for 40 or more years over their lifetimes, Canadians deserve better. A stronger Canada pension plan is a critical priority for middle-class Canadians and those working hard to join it. Our government has developed a responsible, long-term solution to address this issue. The enhancements to the Canada pension plan proposed in Bill C-26 will provide real and meaningful change for all Canadians.

Enhancing the Canada pension plan will give Canadians a larger public pension, helping them retire with dignity. I am proud of our government's hon. Minister of Finance, and all of the Canadian provincial finance ministers, for prioritizing an enhancement to the Canada pension plan, and for reaching a bold and historic agreement to deliver for the benefit of each and every Canadian.

Working Canadians currently receive a pension that is one-quarter of their eligible earnings. This figure could increase to one-third of eligible earnings under the proposed plan. This is a meaningful and significant change. To ensure that our most vulnerable Canadians are not held back by the changes, the working income tax benefit will be increased. The increase in the working income tax benefit will roughly offset the incremental Canada pension plan contribution for low-income workers. Only the contributors who make additional contributions will be able to receive the benefits of the enhancement.

This important feature of our nation's pension plan legislation would ensure that each generation pays for its own benefits and that our Canadian pension plan remains financially sustainable. If the enhanced Canadian pension plan had been implemented in the past, instead of the 24% of families who are approaching retirement being at risk of not having adequate retirement savings, that number would be closer to 18%. This represents a life-changing difference for many hard-working middle-class families who will likely struggle to maintain their standard of living through retirement under the current system.

The proposal would make a meaningful impact for all Canadians. This means more money to put toward living expenses for retirees, more money to put toward housing, more money to put toward food or health services such as prescription drugs, and the list goes on.

Ensuring that Canadians have more money in their pockets at retirement through the proposed Canada pension plan changes would stimulate our economy in perpetuity, creating long-term growth. Canadians have given our government a clear mandate to ensure that all workers have a minimum level of financial security as they retire.

All Canadians deserve to retire with dignity and to have the opportunity to maintain their standard of living in their retirement years. It is our responsibility to support legislation that would have such a meaningful impact on the day-to-day lives of Canadians in their retirement years.

On behalf of the residents of Brampton West, I proudly support the proposed enhancements to the Canada pension plan, and I encourage all parliamentarians to vote in favour of Bill C-26.

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have two specific questions for the member about this proposed pension change.

First, the government cut back on tax-free savings accounts. It is concerned about people being able to save for retirement. Why not let people save for their own retirement?

Second, the government speaks, often, about concern for current seniors. It should be frank about the fact that this program is not aimed at current seniors at all. There could be a variety of mechanisms, such as cutting taxes for seniors and cutting taxes across the board, but especially for vulnerable seniors, that would actually help seniors who need the help right now.

Why is the government increasing taxes, which reduces the capacity to save, in a way that does not actually help our current seniors at all but adds an additional burden for our businesses in the present time. Why is the government proceeding in that direction, when it has much better, more effective alternatives available?

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kamal Khera Liberal Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians want to see reforms to the Canada pension plan. Canadians want and deserve the opportunity to retire with dignity.

Our government, under the leadership of the Prime Minister, has illustrated our unwavering commitment to assisting senior citizens. Our government has increased guaranteed income supplement payments for single seniors. Our government has rolled back changes to old age security, reducing the eligibility age back to 65 from 67. Our government has invested in affordable housing infrastructure.

This legislation governing the Canada pension plan requires that individuals who make additional contributions receive the increase in benefits associated with higher contributions. This reform was established in the 1990s to ensure that the Canada pension plan remains fully funded and financially sustainable.

Canadians are asking for a more secure retirement, and our government plans to do just that.

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Scott Duvall NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, earlier the member mentioned what a great result it is for people in the middle class with the income tax breaks, but they do not include people who make $44,000 or less with no children or their families.

She mentioned how important this bill is for the middle class looking for long-term solutions, but apparently, it eliminates people raising children and people living with disabilities. What is the long-term solution for them going forward?

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Kamal Khera Liberal Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-26 would benefit all Canadians. Canadians deserve a strong, safe, and secure retirement. Our government has demonstrated and illustrated an unwavering commitment to creating equality and opportunity for women and persons with disabilities. We are aware that more could be done with respect to the drop-out provisions for disability and child rearing to make sure that this expansion is as inclusive as possible.

However, as my colleague also knows, to make any changes to the plan, we need agreement with the provinces. The Minister of Finance will raise the drop-out provisions at the next provincial and territorial finance ministers meeting in December in the context of the triennial review of the Canada pension plan.

Canadians are asking for a secure retirement, and our government is committed to delivering on that.

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, quite simply, the parliamentary secretary did not answer the simple question I asked, so I will ask it again and hope she answers.

The OAS and the CPP changes the government talks about do not help current seniors. What she is talking about imposes costs on current businesses and on the current economy. We know that businesses are going to suffer. Some businesses are going to close as a result of this. However, it provides absolutely no relief or benefit for current seniors.

Why is the government not contemplating proposals that actually provide benefits for current seniors and strengthen our economy for the future? Why is it not looking at some of these more effective alternatives that empower the private sector rather than going in the direction it is going?

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Kamal Khera Liberal Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I said, a stronger national pension plan will make our economy and Canadian businesses more sustainable.

Our government has made a strong commitment to helping small and medium-sized businesses innovate and grow. Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of our economy.

As Canadians retire with their enhanced Canada pension plan, they will have more money in their pockets to spend. They will purchase goods and services from businesses and in turn stimulate our economy. This is the long-term vision we are looking at. We will continue to deliver on the commitment we made.

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House to speak once again to Bill C-26, which seeks to expand the Canada pension plan.

We have always known that the Liberals do not listen to anyone except their cronies. Although they like to stand up and tell us that they are defending the middle class, I have my doubts. In fact, the more they talk about defending the middle class, the more they raise taxes, and the more money they take from taxpayers' pockets, which does not help the middle class.

Every time the Liberals introduce a new bill, we can expect taxpayers to be forced to fork out more for a new tax. We all pay taxes. The government is taking even more money out of taxpayers' pockets.

The Liberal mindset is this: I am, I demand, and I think for Canadians. We on this side of the House believe in Canadians and the middle class. We believe that taxpayers need their money. We know perfectly well that Canadians, not the government, are in the best position to manage their own money.

If the Liberals had listened to what anyone other than their cronies had to say, they would realize that not everyone agrees with them.

I have some quotations from certain people to share. On May 31, 2016, the senior director of economic, financial and tax policy at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce said:

...we're worried a big tax increase is headed for the middle class like an elbow to the chest....This comes at the worst possible time—an economy reeling from weak commodity prices and slower consumer spending will be lucky to eke out growth of 1.5% next year. It’s difficult to stimulate the economy while pulling money out of the pockets of Canadians.

On June 20, 2016, the president and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said:

It is tremendously disappointing to see that finance ministers are putting Canadian wages, hours and jobs in jeopardy and willfully moving to make an already shaky economy even worse.... It appears that jobs and the economy are not particularly high priorities for the governments that have signed off on this deal.

We have been talking about seniors a lot. The basic principle is not a bad one, but seniors who are 70 years old now will not need help in 40 years. They need help right now. Seniors who are 70 now will never get this help because it will not be available for another 40 years. The Liberal government is bringing in a law that will not take effect until 2019, which is so interesting because that is when the next election happens. That is a very Liberal way of doing things. The Liberals never really cared about the middle class. They cared, as always, about themselves.

It is one thing to hold $1,500 fundraising cocktails and invite a bunch of millionaires, but the middle class is having a hard time making ends meet. The economy is faltering. All of those grand Liberal principles are just a smokescreen. The Liberals talk about giving this to people, and they think we are not politically savvy enough to see through their little game. If changes are to be made, it should not take 40 years.

It is good to think about the long term, but we also need to think about our seniors who need help now, not 40 years from now.

That is why I will be voting against this bill. It is full of holes. It is not what the Liberals say that worries me. It is what they never tell the public. They give nice speeches and make headlines, but what scares me the most is what the Liberals are not saying.

Middle-class families are being taxed to death and are struggling to make ends meet. Many of them will now have a harder time. For example, it will now be even more difficult for new graduates to pay back their student loans or buy their first home. The Liberals did away with the old rules, and now young families will be unable to buy their first home. It will also be more difficult for companies to create jobs and increase wages.

Every time I hear the Liberals talking about their plans, I worry about what they are not saying because that is what is dangerous. No one is against virtue, but the bill before us says in black and white that it will take 40 years for the system to work properly. Not even I will see that money, and I am in my early 50s. In 40 years, I will probably be too old to remember that the Liberals implemented this measure. Our seniors need help today, not in 40 years.

What is more, the same question keeps coming up: where are the Liberals going to find this money? The Liberals are giving out money hand over fist to everyone right now. However, as far as I know, money does not grow on trees. Everyone dreams of a better future, a better life, and a better situation, but that takes money. It is not always pleasant to live on credit. As taxpayers, if we were to live on credit, the bank would not hesitate to come and take our money and our assets when the bill comes due.

I would therefore like someone to explain to me what the Liberals do not understand. We will not vote for this bill as long as it does not produce an immediate effect. The effects of this bill will not be felt for a very long time. However, our seniors need help now, not 40 years from now.

3:35 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I think it is important every so often to reinforce what we are actually debating here. This is a historic agreement.

For many years I sat on the opposition benches hoping that some day, Stephen Harper and the then Conservative government would do something with regard to the CPP. We finally have strong national leadership and have actually seen provinces of all political stripes, meaning NDP, Conservative, and Liberal, come to the table. We have an agreement with those provinces and territories. That is what we are debating today. It is about the future of pensions for today's workers.

Only the Conservatives have determined that this is a bad piece of legislation. Why does the Conservative Party believe that everyone else is wrong and that it is the Conservatives who are right? I would suggest that the Conservatives have lost touch with reality and with Canadians.

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. I will be honest, this is not only about the Conservatives.

The hon. member might be under the impression here in the House that it is just the Conservatives who are against this bill. However, when we go around some of the poorer ridings, we see that people do not understand what the Liberal government is trying to accomplish with this because the money is needed now, not 40 years from now.

I am glad to know that my colleague across the way would have liked the Conservatives to do something. Unlike the hon. member, we think that makes a lot of sense. The Liberals do not believe in Canadians, but I do. I believe that Canadians are the only ones who can say what they want to do with their money, but the Liberals do not believe that because they always think they are above everyone else.

As the saying goes, when the Liberals stand up, the good Lord rests. I am sorry, but when the Liberals stand up, I sit down because I do not believe a word they say.

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Brigitte Sansoucy NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.

Like her, I believe that the government could be helping seniors who are retired now. Among all seniors, 30% of women who currently live alone live in poverty. That number has tripled over the past 20 years.

Could my colleague elaborate specifically on the situation of retired women living in poverty and how this bill is only going to make matters worse for them?

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.

Indeed, I could speak at length about women living in poverty because I was poor at one point.

This bill brings into focus the situation of a segment of the population that is already struggling. The bill never refers to these people and that bothers me. We have heard some fine speeches. However, as I already said, will repeat, and will continue to say, it is what the Liberals have left unsaid that frightens me.

They never once mention women living in poverty or single women with children who struggle day after day. I know what that means because I struggled my entire life. I was a single parent when I was 28 years old and now I am a member of Parliament.

I am so proud to stand with the Conservatives for the simple reason that I have come to understand something: when you struggle in life, you end up succeeding; but if you rely on promises that are not kept, like those of the Liberals, you can go on being poor for a long time, because those promises are just empty words.