Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand to discuss Bill C-15 today, an act to amend certain provisions of the budget. Today, I would like to discuss two different issues. One thing I will be discussing is old age security and what I think we should be looking at. It is great to join in those kinds of conversations.
As I said, I will be discussing things that are important to Canadians, seniors and youth. I will begin with changes to old age security and eligibility being reversed from 67 back down to 65.
In March 2016, the Prime Minister made the announcement in the United States that the government was going to do this. When the Conservative government made the changes in 2012, it was taking a very complex issue and putting forward a very simple solution. The Prime Minister has now put forward a very simple solution to a very complex issue just by reversing it. These are considerations that we have to look at.
We see countries like the United States, Denmark, Spain, Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and a variety of other countries in the industrialized world that have made these increases to age eligibility, and there are many factors in doing so. Last week, I joined the discussion in the House with the Minister of Finance about old age security and I was looking for answers. Unfortunately, I did not find them, so I am hoping that today I can find some of the answers as we go forward.
I want to point out some of the facts. When we talk about old age security, we have to look at why it came into existence and how it has moved along.
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time.
Back in the 1960s, when old age security was put forward, it was because the government saw that approximately 40% of seniors were living in poverty. At the time the change was made and the age went from 70 down to 65, there were approximately six workers for every one senior. Today, that ratio has changed to four workers for every senior, and in 20 years, there will be two workers for every senior receiving old age security.
To me or anybody who can do simple math, that is extremely problematic. In a simple pie chart, we can see that if half the group is working and the other half of the group is not working, who is going to be paying for the other half? We have to be aware of those things.
When I come to the House, I come with years of experience from working in a constituency office. Many people believe that they pay into and invest in old age security. We have to remind ourselves that old age security is derived from taxes for that year. It is not money that people put into it, like the Canada pension plan or RRSPs, or even pensions at work. Therefore, we must be aware of that when we are having these discussions.
If we look back to when the changes were made to old age security in the 1960s, the life expectancy for men was about 14 years above retirement age. In the 2011 to 2016 period, our life expectancy has grown. For males, it is 21 years above retirement age and for females, it is 25 years above retirement age. Just in those few decades, we see people living seven years longer and receiving old age security.
This is a big transition and we must recognize that there have been many changes since the 1960s, including the removal of mandatory retirement. If one person out of four is retired now, we must recognize that old age security is going to be drawn on very heavily and will be for a much longer of period of time if people are living longer. In 2011, old age security was an expense to the Government of Canada of approximately $38 billion. In 2030, it is going to be $108 billion.
Let us look at two workers per pensioner. I welcome any solutions. The Prime Minister indicated we went back to a simple solution, but just yesterday, the anti-poverty committee came up with some excellent solutions. Even Mr. Shillington, who appeared at the anti-poverty committee yesterday, indicated the proposal for a gradual shift for old age security eligibility to go up to 67, as proposed by the Conservatives, and to move the age of eligibility for GIS back down to 60. Those are things we are going to look at.
In talking about a very complex issue, let us not just take such an easy solution as the government has done, reduce the age back down to 65 and say we will be fine and then deal with it in 20 years.
Another thing I want to discuss when it comes to this is that many women are very unfortunate. Perhaps they are single or widowed, and I recognize that one in three senior women are living in poverty. That is why we need to look at this complex issue and not just have such a simple approach by reversing the decision.
We must consider that in the future this is truly going to be a greater deficit, with more and more spending, and those middle class families the government says it is going to help are going to be stuck footing the bill when we have not looked at any long-term solutions.
Therefore, I urge the government to look at solutions. We cannot just have short-term solutions. We need to have long-term solutions as well. Those are some of the concerns I have.
One of my biggest concerns is the deficit. We talk about the middle class. This middle class is going to have more deficit and more debt than we can even imagine with all the spending we have here.
I see you would like me to stop, Mr. Speaker.