Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to say that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Churchill.
This evening, I am pleased to address the House, but not the Conservatives. Actually, I would like to speak to the people at home, particularly those in my riding. I would like to speak to the people who work in plants, those who work at Miller Electric, TAC Machine Shop, Transport Papineau Internationale, Luxorama, Chalut, ICC or anywhere in Saint-Jérôme industrial park. I would also like to speak to the cashiers working at Provigo or IGA, the waitresses in restaurants, truck drivers, taxi drivers, seamstresses, hairdressers, masons, carpenters, people who work hard every day. They wake up, go to work and work hard to get a pay cheque at the end of the week—a pay cheque that barely covers their basic needs.
The savings rate in Canada is in a terrible state. First, RRSP contributions are going down year after year. Second, the average RRSP contribution is $2,900 in Quebec and about $4,000 in Canada. With $2,000 a year, retirement does not look so good.
I also want to speak to the people at Aveos, Electrolux, Mabe, Caterpillar and Daimler. In fact, I am speaking to all the workers in the companies that have closed up shop this year. I want to speak to the men and women who used to work there. I want to tell them that this government is not working on their behalf. The government says that it has no choice, but it is making choices. Other countries are dealing with the question of pensions differently. Here, the government says that, if people lose their jobs, they have to find other ones paying up to 30% less, they have to travel some way from their homes and, after all that, they have to work until they are 67.
I could have talked about other things because this bill affects 70 other laws. My concern this evening, though, is the workers of Canada. Can we imagine construction workers, masons or painters working until they are 67? From their early 50s, they have bad days, muscles work less well, things get tough. People who lose their jobs at 45, 50 or 54 years of age have extreme difficulty getting back on their feet. Once their employment insurance benefits run out, they often end up on welfare. Now those people are being told that they have to work until they are 67. Why? What reasons can there be?
I looked for the reason. I looked at the entire Canadian economy. For some people, things are going very well. The average salary among Canadian CEOs is $8 million a year. Money is not a problem, because with $8 million a year, a person can take a sabbatical or retire at 59 or 60, with lots of cash. That is an illegitimate accumulation of wealth. These people have it all. At the same time, ordinary people, who work hard day in and day out, see that their purchasing power has remained the same for 30 years. Who are these people working for?
This evening, I am not speaking to the members on the other side of the House; they do not want us talking to them, anyway, because they have cut us off 30 times now. I am speaking to the people at home watching television. Perhaps a worker, somewhere, has worked hard today and has worked hard this year, but has not been able to put much money aside, and cannot imagine how he can keep working until age 67. That is the challenge; asking people to work until they are 67. Whoever thought up that line in the bill never earned his wage by the sweat of his brow. Whoever did that considers people as mere numbers that can be added, multiplied, subtracted and pushed to the bitter end.
I am reminded of my grandfather who worked for 48 years in the Dominion Rubber factory. At the end of those years of service, he was worn out, completely used up.
The government wants to make those people work two extra years. That is unacceptable. Who do the members opposite work for? I ask the question, but I have some answers.
I was reading the headlines that announced the oil companies' record profits. Imperial Oil's profits are skyrocketing by 64% this year. That is great. Then there is the $14.6 billion in profits for Esso, which saw its number of employees in Canada drop from 14,000 in 1991 to 4,900 today. Those profits are drive essentially by ExxonMobil, in the United States, which is the main shareholder. Who do those people work for? They work for the banks, which made record profits in the second quarter of this year to the tune of $7.6 billion.
I think of the people I am talking to this evening, who are sitting at home. They are watching the situation and seeing how the Conservatives have been bragging from the start of this session about the incredible performance of Canada's economy. Canada's economy is doing well for some, but for others it is a prison and their sentence has just been increased to be served until age 67.
What do we do with a government such as this? We stand tall, denounce the lies, injustices, and biases, and we wait until we can give it the boot, because that is the only way to bring in a Canadian government that thinks about the ordinary people, workers and families. The members opposite do not work on our behalf. I am convinced that Canadians can find the proof of what I am saying all through this budget.
In addition to not working on our behalf, this government lies. On March 22, it told us that it would announce a measure to enhance the guaranteed income supplement for seniors. Tax professionals told us that not all seniors who receive the income supplement will be entitled to the $600, which amounts to $2 a day; only 42% will receive it. The Minister of Finance played a trick, a tax shell game, and only half of seniors will receive the $600.
I said it was a lie, but it was also a trick. In light of this, how can Canadians believe for one second that the Conservatives are thinking about the people when preparing the budget?
That is why we have rejected this budget. We will continue to debate it in coming months and years because it has long-term implications for the environment, poverty, unemployment and ethics. By eliminating the Auditor General's power to audit certain government agencies, the government is concealing the information so that the public no longer has access to it.
For all these reasons, I will be voting against the bill.