House of Commons Hansard #147 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pre-clearance.


SeniorsPrivate Members' Business

1:45 p.m.


Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague across the way for picking an excellent subject for his private member's bill.

In my riding of Sarnia—Lambton, the average age is 54, so seniors are a huge priority. We see the great need for long-term care and many of the services that my colleague highlighted. I most especially liked the part about palliative care of course, because that was the subject of my private member's bill that came forward in the House.

Could the member opposite tell us what the government intends to do to come alongside with the infrastructure needed to support long-term care and palliative care and some of the things in the bill?

SeniorsPrivate Members' Business

1:45 p.m.


Marc Serré Liberal Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question and for her hard work on palliative care. It is so important to the Canadian senior population across Canada.

Budget 2016 has looked at infrastructure dollars related to seniors homes, affordable housing, and is also looking at the need for palliative service.

The motion would provide the committee on human resources and the Seniors Council with an opportunity to reach out to palliative care, to continue the work that Senator Carstairs has been doing, even today, on palliative care, and to develop a national strategy that will look at bringing all services to seniors and this important issue on palliative care.

We are looking forward to the members' debate. As part of this process, we are looking at all Canadians to participate in the debate and participate in palliative care services directly.

SeniorsPrivate Members' Business

1:50 p.m.


Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the member for Nickel Belt for bringing forth this motion.

I have two questions for the member, which centre on courses of action. The Liberal government made a promise to introduce a seniors price index. Here we are, more than a year forward, and we still have not seen that. My first question is on whether the member is concerned that the government has not lived up to this promise yet.

My second question is about the child rearing and disability provisions in CPP legislation, the dropout provisions. Those were missing from the CPP enhancements that we saw earlier this year. Will the member raise this issue with his government and ask the minister to fix that part of the CPP?

SeniorsPrivate Members' Business

1:50 p.m.


Marc Serré Liberal Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question and for the hard work he and his party have done for seniors since he has been in Parliament.

He brings up an important point. Part of the motion is establishing and empowering the Seniors Council. It is important to provide feedback, and I would encourage the member to provide the feedback, provide situations that we could look at that are related to this issue.

Our government has been committed to seniors. We have lowered the old age security to 65. We have increased the GIS by 10%. We have also enhanced the CPP. This is an opportunity for all members and the Canadian population to participate in this debate, to finalize, provide action, and also bring forward these issues that are important to the committee and to the seniors council. They should focus on bringing these issues and these recommendations to a plan of action on developing a national seniors strategy.

SeniorsPrivate Members' Business

1:50 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick


Ginette Petitpas Taylor LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his research leading up to Motion No. 106. We are all very glad to have heard his speech on the motion today.

Can my hon. colleague comment further on the benefits of a national seniors' strategy?

SeniorsPrivate Members' Business

1:50 p.m.


Marc Serré Liberal Nickel Belt, ON

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

We worked with a number of national partners and organizations, as well as with the provinces, to determine what benefits a national seniors' strategy could have. We also reviewed the services that the federal government offers seniors.

Giving the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities the mandate to conduct research and hear from witnesses from across Canada is therefore an important aspect of the motion. It is also vital that the seniors' council get information from across the country.

Finally, as I already mentioned, the website gives Canadians the opportunity to participate in the debate on the development of a meaningful national strategy for seniors.

SeniorsPrivate Members' Business

1:50 p.m.


Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I stand today to speak to Motion No. 106, the Liberal motion on seniors. I emphasize the word “Liberal” because this motion is just another example of the Liberals putting forward empty, feel-good and, frankly, do-nothing motions. I am sure the member had good intentions behind the motion. He has given it a very grandiose title, “establishing a national seniors' strategy”. Someone reading it might actually think it had teeth or represented actually helping seniors.

Here is the problem, though. Motion No. 106 does nothing but highlight the lack of seriousness that the Liberal government has when it comes to addressing the needs of seniors.

The superficial nature of the motion is disrespectful at its core, because it makes light of a serious issue by failing to provide any concrete language or measurable outcomes. Hard-working Canadian seniors deserve a concrete commitment and timeline from the government regarding the development of a national seniors' framework.

I want to highlight a couple of items in the motion.

Number one is to “recognize that seniors...make up a demographic that requires ongoing attention”. It seems a bit obvious.

Number two is that the government should “point out that it is working hard to [improve] the lives of seniors”. Here we have a motion from the Liberal government saying we should point out the great job we are doing for seniors.

Motion No. 106 is frustrating for its lack of tangible outcomes. It is even more frustrating that it comes after several attempts to help seniors from members on this side of the House that were rejected outright by the Liberal majority, pretty much for the reason that it was not their idea.

We have asked for a return of the ministry for seniors and a real, concrete national seniors' strategy over and over again. My colleagues, the member for Langley—Aldergrove and the member for Richmond Centre, and I have personally submitted numerous petitions asking for reinstatement of the ministry for seniors, which existed before being cynically cut by the current government.

My own private member's bill, Bill C-301, the RRIF financial security act, focused on tax relief for Canadian seniors.

The bill was supported by the NDP, by financial experts who provided clear evidence that the bill would help seniors without hurting government revenues, by the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, and most important, by Canadians across the country. With broad support from Canadians, one would expect that this would be reflected in this House. However, the Liberals, including the member for Nickel Belt, voted against seniors and against that bill.

On February 14, Liberal members of the HUMA standing committee voted down a neutral motion calling for the committee to study seniors' issues. They just recently voted down a motion asking for a study of seniors' issues; yet, here we are, days later, discussing a Liberal motion on seniors. It makes me wonder why the government has so suddenly changed its mind. Is it because the government is so politically motivated it cannot see the benefit of voting in favour of an opposition motion?

The Conservatives have a long record of supporting our seniors. There are accomplishments that we are proud of, and accomplishments that are being eroded thanks to the reckless tax-and-spend approach of the current Liberal government.

Our seniors have worked all their lives, paid taxes, paid into pensions, and paid into the CPP. They are trying to live out their golden years with a living wage and savings to prepare them for unanticipated expenses.

Conservative policies focused on empowering seniors to choose how they want to live their retirement years and providing help for those who need it. We expanded the GIS and the compassionate care program, and provided tax breaks to caregivers. We invested $1.4 billion in 2011 to reduce the number of Canadians in a housing need through a federal-provincial framework assisting almost 184,000 homes. We invested $1.25 billion in the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's affordable housing centre, creating over 25,000 new affordable housing units.

We introduced tax-free savings accounts and expanded the annual maximum to $10,000 to help working Canadians save more for their retirement. Millions of Canadians use TFSAs, with the vast majority earning low and middle incomes. Yet the Liberals could not wait to reduce the TFSA limit and punish those who dared think that hard-earned and saved money should be enjoyed by those who earned and saved it.

The previous government introduced income splitting for seniors and lowered the mandatory withdrawal rate for registered retirement income funds.

It is a long record indeed. These are evidence-based policies that benefit every senior, with remarkable returns leading to the lowest poverty rate among our seniors in decades. It is a record to be proud of. However, more can always be done. The previous government dedicated an entire ministry to helping seniors. Unfortunately, the Liberals scrapped the ministry and currently have no cabinet representation for seniors.

We have a minister of youth, who I will note sits and refuses to answer questions posed to the minister of youth, but nothing for our seniors who have spent decades working and paying taxes. That was another in a long line of inexplicable Liberal decisions.

Both my party and my colleagues in the other opposition parties bring forward initiatives to help seniors, to lower taxes, and to provide relief for the vulnerable in Canada. I do not always agree with my NDP colleagues, but I happily support any sensible ideas they put forward to help Canadians. However, in response, the government consistently votes against them and blocks them from coming into force for what I can only assume are crass political motivations.

The problem is that although the Liberals might score a political win, vulnerable Canadians who need our help lose. These Canadians lose because the government would rather play politics than support something they did not come up with first.

It is no surprise to anyone that our population mix is changing drastically. One in six Canadians was a senior last year. In 12 years, one in four Canadians will be a senior. There are now more Canadians 65 years of age or older than those under the age of 15. The ratio of workers to seniors is going to fall from 4:1 to 2:1 in 2030.

This drastic demographic shift has created an important need to prepare for the care of aging Canadians, changing program priorities, and government delivery. This is not just a concern for old age security but for the future of our health care system, and how the provinces are to cope with the massive growth in seniors who will be accessing the already overloaded health care system. An assessment of government readiness to care for an aging population needs to begin now.

I want to go back to Bill C-301, about which I briefly spoke. It was an immediate solution to help seniors today and in the future, and was broadly supported. It was not just empty rhetoric and talking points. I received hundreds of responses from Edmontonians who were counting on the current Liberal government to remove the mandatory withdrawal structure from the RRIFs. I have correspondence from seniors in Toronto, Ottawa, all over British Columbia, and Calgary, all supporting removing mandatory minimums. I have an endorsement from the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, representing over 60,000 seniors, in support of removing mandatory withdrawals. However, I suppose this was not a Liberal initiative and therefore was not worthy of this Parliament.

I can go on and on about the conduct of the members on the other side of the House, pretending to stand up for middle-class Canadians. Middle-class Canadians do not want taxes, or corporate bailouts, or long-winded talking points. They want jobs and they want to see the money that they put into the government coming back to them. In the case of seniors, they want assurances that the system they have been paying into is there to help them when they need it.

It is getting more difficult by the day to believe anything the government says in the House. It constantly boasts about wanting to be collaborative, looking toward the future, and changing the way things work in this place. Then it does the exact opposite of what it preaches.

I support evidence-based policies that meaningfully help our most vulnerable. However, I do not support Liberal moves of cynical, self-congratulation to cover up the fact they have voted down every proposal we or my opposition colleagues have brought forward simply because of where we sit in the House. I also do not support empty, do-nothing motions that will not help seniors today or in the future.

SeniorsPrivate Members' Business

2 p.m.


Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate having the opportunity to debate Motion No. 106 today, which is brought by the member for Nickel Belt. Indeed, I am happy to speak on any motion with an ultimate goal of improving the lives of seniors.

I think it is crucial that we have a senior strategy put in place immediately. This is an issue that we have been talking about for many years, not only the 42nd Parliament, but the 41st Parliament, the 40th Parliament, and so on. We have talked about a national senior strategy ad nauseam. I am worried. The time for action has come, but all we seem to do is talk about it.

We need to deal with the growing senior population. I know from first-hand experience in my own riding, which I am sure many members can reiterate, that we see seniors within our constituencies who are struggling to make ends meet today. Therefore, I am proud to be a member of a caucus and a party that has a long tradition and history of bringing forward a thoughtful and strategic approach to seniors care.

The member for Nickel Belt, in his motion, correctly identifies the demographic shifts that are going on in Canada. We know that our population is aging rapidly, and we know that for the first time there are more people age 65 than there are children under the age of 14. By 2036, just two decades away, it is expected that seniors are going to make up 25% of the population. The fastest-growing age group are people who are 85 years and above. Indeed, the population of seniors is expected to double in those two decades. This is very much a demographic time bomb that is heading our way. The more we can do in these initial years, in fact immediately, the better, otherwise future governments will be struggling to keep pace with the changes that will be needed. We know that in the last 25 years, the proportion of this population grew by over 130%.

With these shocking statistics, it is clear that Canada's health care and social system is not designed to meet the challenge. I do not want to give the impression that these are just future problems because these are happening right now. I recall a time when I served as a constituency assistant to a former member of Parliament for seven years, and many of the clientele I helped directly were seniors.

Seniors face a multitude of issues, such as financial, health, housing, social inclusivity, and so on. Indeed, they are are quite a varied group, but they are a vulnerable part of society. They certainly deserve our respect for building Canada into the country it is today. I believe that every Canadian, no matter what their social or economic status, should be able to retire in dignity. I think that is a sacred obligation that we have as members of Parliament in the House, and we have the privileges and rights in the House to make sure that we fulfill that obligation.

Our health care system was initially designed to deal with the acute and episodic care of a younger population. Indeed, that is one of the reasons it is struggling today to properly care for patients who are elderly.

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the hard work of my colleague for London—Fanshawe, who in the previous Parliament developed a national strategy on aging. One of the big quotes from several years ago pointed out that there are only 242 certified geriatricians in Canada. It is estimated that we need around 700, but we are currently only filling those spots by 15 to 25 a year. Therefore, this is certainly an area where Canada needs to see some action.

It has been reported that about 75% to 80% of Canadian seniors have one or more chronic conditions. The differences are stark when we look at gender. Canadian female seniors are twice as likely to live in poverty as male seniors. It is estimated that 30% of older Canadian women are living below the poverty line. We certainly believe on this side of the House that a national strategy should not only focus on improving the lives of seniors, but also removing that very stark inequality between older women and men.

A 2010 report outlines that approximately 50% of older Atlantic Canadians spend 30% of their income on housing, while 20% spend over 40% of their income on housing, which makes them the most financially vulnerable individuals in Canada.

One of the big concerns that we have in Canada, it being a federation of provinces, is that we have this patchwork quilt of standards, and where people are in Canada determines how well they fare. One of the strengths of the federal government is that it can reach out and make sure that those strong national standards are in place. I would urge the governing members to really use that federal power to make sure that a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian, and that no matter they live, they have the same standards.

I mentioned my colleague from London—Fanshawe and the important work that she has done on the national strategy on aging in a previous Parliament. She does have a motion in the House, on the Order Paper, known as Motion No. 21. She has worked with stakeholders over the years to create a national strategy. The main components are focusing on health care, affordable housing, income security, and quality of life, but also focuses on creating a seniors advocate.

We already have a seniors advocate in British Columbia, Isobel Mackenzie. She has been great at issuing reports for the Province of British Columbia that outline the key facts and figures, and lay bare the holes that exist in government policy. I think such a policy created at a national level could only do good.

All MPs in this House believe that seniors have worked very hard to build a society of prosperity, generosity, and sound institutions, and that even after retirement they continue to make valuable contributions to our society. I know many recently retired seniors I talk to tell me that they do not know how they even had time to hold a job because they are so involved and so busy in their community. With the volunteer hours they put in and the way they provide that mentoring to a younger generation, they really do form that bedrock for many communities across Canada.

Due to the role seniors continue to play in Canada, we owe them that debt of responsibility to continue to make sure that no one is growing old in poverty, insecurity, or indeed in isolation.

This motion before us is a call to action for further study, but as I outlined in my introductory remarks, I worry that this is an issue that gets studied to death. I really want to see some action. Previously, I asked the member for Nickel Belt what had happened to the government's promise for the creation of a seniors price index. We are more than a year into it, and we still do not have those costs dealing with seniors incomes, old age security, and guaranteed income supplement. We still do not have word from the government on what is going to be happening to those all-important missing drop-out provisions for the child-rearing years and those times when Canadian seniors might have had a disability. Those are big, gaping holes.

Overall, we do support the intent of the motion. However, I would hope that the member for Nickel Belt, maybe during the second hour of debate, would be amenable to some kind of an amendment to his motion, something to include the recognition that much more work needs to be done, and that all seniors need to live and retire in dignity.

I think we need to have wording in the motion that acknowledges the importance of the social determinants of health, and how we institute more preventative medicine and the prevention of illnesses and disabilities and all the ailments that come with old age. A national pharmacare plan, the affordable housing component, and of course the creation of that seniors advocacy position need to be included.

I will conclude my remarks by thanking the member for Nickel Belt. I know his heart is in the right place. I certainly hope that, in consultation with him, during the second hour of debate he might be amenable to changing the wording of this motion so that we acknowledge those important factors I just listed. I appreciate the opportunity to give voice to this important issue.

SeniorsPrivate Members' Business

2:10 p.m.


Deb Schulte Liberal King—Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to speak to Motion No. 106, a motion encouraging the government to develop a national seniors strategy, brought forward by my colleague from Nickel Belt. I want to thank him very much for his dedicated work on this issue.

The motion encourages the government to take specific actions to address seniors issues. As chair of the seniors Liberal caucus, I am delighted that this motion is coming forward and I want to give my full support.

Wherever we live, whatever our political inclination, we all grow old. At least we aspire to grow old with dignity and physical well-being. With aging an inevitable part of our common humanity, there surely can be few areas of government activity more able to positively impact Canadians.

Given the potential impact, we need to proceed with sound, strategic planning and with a whole of government approach. The motion asks the government to do four key things: to recognize that seniors make up a demographic that requires ongoing attention from the government; to confirm that the government is working to improve the lives of seniors; to ask the Standing Committee of Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, also known as HUMA, to study and report back to the House on the development of a National Seniors Strategy; and to broaden the mandate of the National Seniors Council.

Today I would like to express why the government is in support of the motion.

The Government of Canada recognizes that, like many countries around the world, Canada's population is aging. We know that the proportion of the senior population, age 65 and older, has been increasing steadily over the past 40 years. From 1971 to 2011, the proportion of seniors in Canada's population grew from 8% to 14%. I know members have heard all this before.

According to demographic projections, seniors could represent between 23% and 25% of the total population in 2036. In 2015, the number of seniors exceeded the number of children age 14 and younger for the first time ever. This shift is in part due to increasing an lifespan for Canadians, which is something that should be celebrated.

At the same time, we must be thoughtful in how we respond to the opportunities and policy challenges before us.

I want to assure members that our government values the contributions that older Canadians have made, and continue to make, to our communities, our workplaces, and our families.

Supporting Motion No. 106 is an opportunity to look at the challenges and opportunities faced by older Canadians and to recognize the rich diversity of seniors, for example, indigenous seniors, LGBTQ2 seniors, older immigrants and refugees, and seniors with disabilities. We are committed to the full social and economic inclusion of all Canadians. Our government looks forward to continuing to work together with other key stakeholders to support Canada's seniors of today and tomorrow.

Our government believes that older Canadians are and will continue to be among the drivers of our economy. The seniors of today are living longer, healthier lives than those of previous generations. Just think about the Canadian workforce.

Today many baby boomers choose to stay in the workforce even after the traditional retirement age of 65. Some stay for financial reasons, others because they want to remain active and engaged. According to a Statistics Canada survey of older workers, over half of the respondents who are currently working have indicated a plan to continue working on a part-time basis when they retire.

Not only is there room for seniors in the labour market, we require their skills, knowledge, and their contributions to ensure continued prosperity of our workforce and of our economy. Older workers can enable the successful transfer of an organization's knowledge, skills, and experience to future leaders and to areas that require specialized expertise. They also tend to remain with employers for longer periods. That means fewer costs for hiring and training new staff.

I am talking about older workers here to give an example of just one of the many contributions that older Canadians make to our society. After a working lifetime of contributing to Canada, Canada needs to ensure the needs of older Canadians are met with dignity and respect, and as an integral part of a social contract between all Canadians. Some will say developing an effective strategy to assist the elderly is about fairness. That is true, but the impetus for developing a national seniors strategy is more far-reaching. Canadians of all ages benefit when we respond to the needs of the elderly in a coherent, comprehensive, and effective manner.

Youth are likely to receive the guidance and insight of their grandparents for longer periods. Middle-aged adults may face less of a squeeze when juggling work, raising children, and helping their elderly parents. Those approaching retirement age can make sound decisions, knowing that assistance is available for their essential needs should they need it in the coming decades.

Moreover, and perhaps most importantly, this is who we are as a nation. We value all Canadians equally, whatever their situation, whatever their age, and we do so because it is fair and just. It seems that the essential needs of seniors are not fundamentally different from the rest of the population: accessible and supportive health services, affordable and suitable housing, financial security, and being treated with dignity and respect.

Of course, the situation seniors face, the intensity of their demands for some of these needs, and especially how seniors can best meet these needs differs from young people. At their core, however, they are essentially the same. However, as we experience population aging, the support our government provides and how we deliver it needs to evolve.

With an aging population, we know that there are challenges. The issues are complex in nature. They require collaboration across all of government and with non-governmental and private sector partners, researchers, practitioners, organizations representing seniors, and of course, seniors themselves. We must base our decisions on evidence and the lived experience of our seniors. We know that, and we understand that.

Our government is already responding to an aging population and demonstrating its commitment to seniors. We are making investments to enable seniors to live healthy, active, and independent lives. We increased the guaranteed income supplement top-up for single seniors. We are lifting Canadians out of poverty. We are helping seniors face challenges in accessing affordable housing. We restored the age of eligibility for the old age security pension and the guaranteed income supplement to age 65 from age 67. On top of that, we have enhanced the Canada pension plan for future seniors.

We are also providing additional targeted funding to support improved home care and mental health, which we know will improve outcomes and is the most cost-effective way to deliver much-needed services for seniors. We have also been working to provide more generous and flexible leave for caregivers, and we look forward to implementing further measures to ensure well-being and a good quality of life for seniors.

As we consider the opportunities and challenges associated with an aging population, our government looks forward to receiving advice and recommendations from the National Seniors Council and from the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. Motion No. 106 will help us move forward with our work, and for that reason, we must support it.

In conclusion, I want to recognize the hard work of many of the members in the House on this important file. I will not call them out, but there are many people working and bringing forward recommendations across the spectrum that impact seniors' lives, and I really appreciate all of that hard work on both sides of the House.

Speaking of playing politics, which we heard in a previous declaration here today, this is a sad thing to be saying as we are talking about this motion. However, what I have been seeing is that repeatedly, we have had the official opposition bring forward motions that intend to usurp private members' motions that have already been tabled. To address the one that was mentioned in the speech, it was tabled, in this case, on December 6, 2016.

It is really not respectful behaviour, or efficient for the House, to be doing this kind of activity. If we know that there is a motion coming forward from one side, it really is not appropriate for the other side to try to jump in ahead with an opposition day motion. That is why this side of the House is trying to be respectful and considerate of the hard work individual members are doing through their private member's motions.

SeniorsPrivate Members' Business

2:20 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Elgin—Middlesex—London, will have approximately seven minutes, at which point she will have to cut, then the next time this motion comes up for debate, she will have another three minutes coming to her.

SeniorsPrivate Members' Business

2:20 p.m.


Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am going to change the way I was going to give my speech, because there were certain things that I was going to talk about last.

The first thing I want to respond to is the previous member's comments. Because it is on the record that the Conservative Party put forward a motion, members had better know what we are talking about when we say things such as that the Conservatives put through a counter motion. What actually happened, and I know the chair of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities is aware of it as well, is that on March 22, 2016, there was a motion. If we are going to say that we are playing politics, let us make sure we have our facts straight.

On March 22, 2016, the member for Langley—Aldergrove brought forward a motion in the HUMA committee. Being honest about this, because it is important that we have these discussions, I looked at the motion and saw a great deal of provincial jurisdiction. As a federal member of Parliament, it is very difficult for me to look at a motion and see that a study is going to be 80% provincial. Therefore, I played around with that motion in committee on February 14 and reintroduced it.

Let us be fair and put on the record that Conservatives were not playing politics with this and that our motion was introduced nine months previous to this motion. I want to clarify that. If we are going to talk about playing politics, let us be real. This was not a political move because seniors are very important to the Conservative Party. My riding of Elgin—Middlesex—London at one time had one of the largest populations of seniors in Ontario. I recognize how important they are and that it is a growing demographic.

I am going to talk about the importance of seniors. I believe that I bring a lot of experience to the House in dealing with everyday seniors, whether it is filling out old age security applications, dealing with the GIS, or doing voluntary tax returns for 10 years. There are a lot of things we can do as federal legislators to help seniors, important things like income splitting. That has had a great and positive impact for seniors.

Another great example of what the Conservative government improved on was the age for OAS. From my experience in doing tax returns, usually $12,000 is the basic income, and from there it is added on. That age amount allowed seniors, many times, to go from about $12,000 to almost $18,000. The first $18,000 was not taxed. I am going to remind people that the guaranteed income supplement is not a taxable amount, so that is not part of the old age security and CPP that is taxed.

We need to look at what federal legislatures can do. When it comes to seniors, we can make sure there are proper tax credits. I appreciate the tax credits that seniors currently have and can only ask that we continue to do more of that, that we continue to look at what more we can do for seniors in that respect. Another thing is making sure that there are the right vehicles to allow seniors to save.

We all know that in the 2015 election, there was so much talk about old age security. There were some misnomers and then there were some truths. One of the truths is that my oldest sister Linda was born in 1962. She will be happy that I said that. The fact is that her age group was going to be the first to be affected by the increase in retirement age from 65 to 67. We are not talking about the seniors of today; we are talking about the seniors of tomorrow. I felt that we were allowing seniors to prepare for their future. We put in vehicles like the tax-free savings account that would allow people to prepare.

My sister is going to be 54 on May 12 and will be retiring in 11 years. Age 65 is when she was going to receive her old age security. It was changed in 2012 or so, to age 67, and the change was going to give her almost 15 years to prepare for her retirement. The Liberals changed that back to age 65.

The finance council has been established, and the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development will not be taking the advice of this council to increase the age from 65 to 67, although we see that 23 out of the 32 OECD countries are doing so. They are doing so because they recognize that there is an aging demographic and people are living longer.

When old age security was brought forward it was not in a time when people were living 10 and 12 years longer, as they are doing now.

We also have to recognize that we have many other great benefits, our health care, and every day we turn a page we find new scientific adventures and there is better health care. As my friend sitting beside me today said, there are great initiatives like Bill C-277, our framework for palliative care policies. We are putting forward strategies that can work, and we need to do those things.

I have to say that I would have preferred that the member for Nickelback had not put in section B—

SeniorsPrivate Members' Business

2:25 p.m.

Ron McKinnon

Nickelback? Nickel Belt.

SeniorsPrivate Members' Business

2:25 p.m.


Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

I mean the member for Nickelback, who is really from Nickel Belt, but loves Nickelback.

The fact is, we should not be sitting here and putting in a motion that says, yea, look how great we are. I think that is the one thing out of this entire motion that I find extremely frivolous. I respect the member a great deal, but I think that is a way of creating partisan politics right there. Maybe he could have done a little bit better. Maybe he is willing to amend that on my behalf because he knows I am not really good with that one.

Let us go back to old age security. We will have an aging population. One out of four of our seniors will be over the age of 65 by 2030. This will cost our government between $10.4 billion and $11.2 billion. Those were just rough estimates that were done when the previous government looked at those calculations.

SeniorsPrivate Members' Business

2:25 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The hon. member will have three minutes remaining when this motion comes before the House again.

The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.

It being 2:30 p.m., the House stands adjourned until Monday, March 6, 2017, at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Orders 28(2) and 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 2:30 p.m.)