November 18, 1964

NDP

Frank Howard

New Democratic Party

Mr. Howard:

Occasionally we hear these bleatings from the other side when they feel their honour is pricked and wounded, but I am merely telling them something which is a fact. I do not have any great expectations at the moment that this bill will finally get on to the statute books of Canada, if it is correct that the government is doing all it can to engineer an election this spring, and my doubts will not be allayed unless steps are taken to guarantee that this committee which is already established will be able to continue sitting continuously from now until its hearings are completed, and find itself in the position to be able to report to this present session of parliament. This would mean having to forgo the usual arrangements for dissolution and the calling of a new session of parliament. The present session would have to continue, and if we arranged for this to happen only because of the pension plan it would be a worth-while undertaking. It would mean we should have to continue the present session of parliament, even though it might extend into the middle of next year. By agreement-and agreement appears to be available any time the leader of the house wants it, these days-arrangements could be made for the resumption of private members' hours on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and for

the putting forward of the various supply motions so that we could consider the estimates of the next fiscal year and so on. Some agreement could be reached about arranging for a speech from the throne, if we really needed to have one, as well as about those other proceedings in parliament which normally follow the calling of a new session.

I submit that the only course open to the government at the moment is to attempt to keep this session of parliament in being until such time as the committee which is studying this bill has an opportunity to report back to us. We can thus guarantee that at least it will not die on the order paper as a result of prorogation, and can hope that dissolution will not take place until such time as we have the law on the statute book-s. Unless the government are willing to do this, I think we are quite justified in making the accusation against them that they are not really sincere about proceeding with even this watered down version of a pension plan. Mr. Speaker, I had other remarks that I would have made, but these in essence were made by my colleague the hon. member for Timiskaming (Mr. Peters) and others in this party who have spoken; therefore I will not take the time of the house to repeat those contentions.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF CONTRIBUTORY PROGRAM
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Is the house ready for the question?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF CONTRIBUTORY PROGRAM
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?

Some hon. Members:

Question.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF CONTRIBUTORY PROGRAM
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LIB

Marvin Gelber

Liberal

Mr. Marvin Gelber (York South):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce my few remarks on the Canada pension plan with a quotation from Psalms which has been chanted through the ages:

Cast me not off in the time of old age: forsake me not when my strength faileth.

Provision for old age through the social welfare state expresses not alone our social conscience but reflects the transformation of our society from a rural to an urban one. The patriarchal society which was historic presented no special problem as long as the moral responsibility for old people was recognized. The aged and the young lived together and respect for the fathers was the norm of the civilized community. On the other hand we must provide through these present special measures, partly because of our growing individualism. We no longer think in family terms to the extent that our ancestors did. The young wish to be free and the old do not wish to be dependant. In the patriarchal society and in rural society, the older members of the family participated as of right and not by grace of the good will of their

children. We have moved away from that and we think ourselves advanced. In fact, we have created many problems and only in the last decades are we really beginning to face them. The generations live apart. The filial bond is at something of a discount. To many of the young, it is a burden; to some of the old the toleration of their children is itself intolerable. One of the great problems of the aged is loneliness. This is a real challenge. Age itself has not fashioned this yoke; it is our society that is lacking-and this is a comment on an age that prides itself on its social consciousness.

We in this parliament and particularly in this generation must do something for a group of Canadians who reached their prime in the great depression of the 1930's. As late as 1935, one out of every seven Canadians was on relief. We hear appeals for self-reliance and advice to all to provide in advance for unhappy vicissitudes, and particularly for years of declining economic productivity. But how could a generation condemned to idleness through forces much larger than its own capabilities provide for the future when the impoverished present was so very terrible? Now in its later years we must take measures for those who were the victims of the economic holocaust that swept so much of the western world 30 years ago. This gives special urgency to enacting an additional measure at this time to provide for people in their older years.

There is another special problem which is most compelling. Our economy and our society is in the throes of a great revolution. It is a revolution based on the most sophisticated techniques of production and control. It goes by the name of automation. Automation is transforming not only our industrial and distributive processes but forces us to examine our concept of the value of work and the place of work in society since the dawn of history. We have glorified the biblical dictum that "by the sweat of thy brow shalt thou earn thy bread". One of the great humane values of the social revolution that swept Europe commencing with the middle years of the 19th century was the idea of the dignity of labour. This was not only a great egalitarian doctrine but held aloft a moral precept which is central to the highest ethical ideals of our civilization from its beginnings thousands of years ago. Now hyper-efficiency is forcing us to examine this central thesis of our society. It is forcing us to look to our directions and to prepare for results that we never really anticipated.

Canada Pension Plan

Some months ago in this house I mentioned the fact that 14 glassblower operators tend machines that produce all the glass bulbs and all the radio and television tubes, excepting picture tubes, for the United States. With that one exception, 14 tend machines which produce 90 per cent of the total. Some weeks later a colleague in the house, who apparently was paying careful attention to my remarks, was discussing this information with friends and they found it unbelievable. What was my authority? I told him I was quoting the Minister of Labour (Mr. Mac-Eachen).

In point of fact, this is the core of the problem. The direct relationship of commodities to labour expended fascinated the classical economists. It provided ideas for Adam Smith and David Ricardo, and inspired the revolutionary and evangelical economic theory of Karl Marx, who stood the labour theory of value on its head. Tomorrow we may not be relating directly commodities to labour expended. Fourteen men tend machines that produce 90 per cent of the bulbs and tubes-they might easily produce all that is required, plus a surplus. The measurement of output in terms of labour hours could become an obsolete concept. This is something quite revolutionary and goes to the root of our society, which is so intimately related to our economic processes.

We live in a country of abundance, despite the poverty which is too widespread. The representations made by the Ontario federation of labour on poverty in Ontario in 1964 are a challenge to all. The Minister of Forestry (Mr. Sauve) has also pinpointed this problem and proposes to do some things about it. The Minister of Industry (Mr. Drury) has special programs to stimulate growth in designated areas, and the over-all economic program of the government has taken certain important steps. It is a paradox that we have these areas of impoverishment in a society of abundance. It is also a most serious consideration that with a great potential in the western world much of the world community lives in abject poverty. Hunger is the first problem for more than half the human race, and our country which has increased its participation in foreign aid must continue to do even more. The fact remains that the new processes are producing great bounties and the problems of automation oblige us to examine with great seriousness the organization of the labour market.

I have been an advocate of more serious programs of industrial training and larger

Canada Pension Plan

attempts to upgrade our labour force. However, we are also faced with the necessity to abstract from our labour force aging workers who, through their own efforts and those of all of us, can provide for their older years. This pension plan means that the bounty of automation will not exact too great a price for older workers. We are not as yet really facing the challenge of obsolescence in the skills of our workers. Every day thousands now working are finding their means of livelihood destroyed because the skills that have stood them in good stead for most of their adult lives have become obsolete. In part, this can be met by retraining, but for many of the older workers it will be necessary to withdraw them from the labour market in dignity and with security.

This is the greatest aspect of the Canada pension plan; we are protecting the dignity and the self-respect of our workers. We not only give them a greater mobility by ensuring the portability of pensions, but we are saying: In your declining years it is not to the state which you are looking but to the provisions which through the state you were able to make for yourself, together with the contribution of your employer, to security and well-being.

If we have moved from the patriarchal society to a highly individualized community, the older worker is entitled to all the dignity which his son, who with his skill and his two arms is able to provide for his wife and children and himself, has in his prime. Not through the toleration of his children, but through his own provision, the older worker can hold his head high and face his later years with a sense of dignity and well-being.

Our problems do not end here We shall have to give thought to organizing the leisure which a society of automation affords us. We shall have to make it creative and satisfying. Canada has a challenging present and a great future, and the Canada pension plan is a step towards its realization.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF CONTRIBUTORY PROGRAM
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PC

Eric Alfred Winkler (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Progressive Conservative Party)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Winkler:

Mr. Speaker, could I ask the minister a question before we proceed any further; she can deal with it when she is replying. Can the minister tell us whether she has any assurance from the nine provinces that they will participate in the plan at this stage?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF CONTRIBUTORY PROGRAM
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

If the minister speaks now she would, of course, be closing the debate.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF CONTRIBUTORY PROGRAM
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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Barnett:

Mr. Speaker, I was seeking to ask the hon. member who has just con-

eluded his speech whether he would permit a question before he took his seat.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF CONTRIBUTORY PROGRAM
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LIB

Marvin Gelber

Liberal

Mr. Geiber:

Certainly.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF CONTRIBUTORY PROGRAM
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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Barnett:

I listened with interest to his speech and I noted that earlier in his remarks he made reference to the generation of Canadians who were in the prime of their earning years when they were caught in the holocaust of the great depression. I should like to ask the hon. member whether he would not have to agree that it is precisely that generation of Canadians for whom we are not making provision in this bill, because of the age they have now reached.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF CONTRIBUTORY PROGRAM
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LIB

Marvin Gelber

Liberal

Mr. Gelber:

I would say it depends how old they were then.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF CONTRIBUTORY PROGRAM
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Is the house ready for the question?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF CONTRIBUTORY PROGRAM
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Question.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF CONTRIBUTORY PROGRAM
Permalink
LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

All those in favour of the said motion please say yea.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF CONTRIBUTORY PROGRAM
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?

Some hon. Members:

Yea.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF CONTRIBUTORY PROGRAM
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

All those against the said motion please say nay.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF CONTRIBUTORY PROGRAM
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?

Some hon. Members:

Nay.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF CONTRIBUTORY PROGRAM
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five members having risen:

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF CONTRIBUTORY PROGRAM
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NDP

Reid Scott

New Democratic Party

Mr. Scott:

Mr. Speaker, I and my colleagues would like to record a vote.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF CONTRIBUTORY PROGRAM
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Call in the members.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF CONTRIBUTORY PROGRAM
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PC

Gordon Minto Churchill (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

It is too late.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF CONTRIBUTORY PROGRAM
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November 18, 1964