November 30, 1970

LANG MAE YUR LUM REEK

PC

Heath Nelson Macquarrie

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Heath Macquarrie (Hillsborough):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege. While I have heard on many occasions during my 13 years here glowing, eloquent tributes to St. Patrick, St. George, St. David, St. Jean Baptiste before our rules gave us a holiday on that saint's day, and many other heroes, I do not recall this House ever hearing a salutatory statement to the devout and glorious patron of all the Scots, devout or otherwise, St. Andrew.

Considering that the Scots and Scottish Canadians have made a major contribution to our public life, contributing some of our greatest Prime Ministers and sharing the ancestry of others, including the present one, it is fitting, I think, that note be taken of this auspicious day. I believe that a judicious combination of two Scottish characteristics, frugality and friendliness, leads me to the formula that we might extend to one another the wish for a happy St. Andrew's day. To you in particular, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all Scots here present and here represented I say, lang mae yur lum reek.

Topic:   LANG MAE YUR LUM REEK
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ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

SOCIAL SECURIY

LIB

John Carr Munro (Minister of Amateur Sport; Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Hon. John C. Munro (Minister of National Health and Welfare):

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 41 I wish to table copies in both official languages of a white paper entitled "Income Security for Canadians".

Today marks the end of the first phase of a searching examination of this important area of policy. The views of Members of Parliament, the provincial governments, the public at large and low-income groups particularly will have an important bearing on the determination of several issues of national importance.

It is my hope that agreement among all concerned will enable us to proceed with the fundamental shifts of policy emphasis and program initiatives proposed.

The sum total of these constitutes an important reorganization of the income security sector of public policy. At issue is the painstaking and complicated task of endowing with a renewed sense of purpose and social relevance, various income support policies which have

evolved through the years in specific response to particular problems. Some of the programs involved are exclusively federal and reform of them can be accomplished with relative speed. Others involve the co-operation of provincial authorities and I intend to set in motion full, detailed discussions with those authorities immediately. While the dialogue implicit in the white paper techniques must be meaningful and complete, it is essential to remember that this policy sector concerns men, women and children in permanent and temporary difficulty. They await not just our words, but our actions, and in some particular cases long delay cannot in conscience be permitted.

Our guiding principle in the paper has been to find ways to ensure the greatest possible concentration of available resources upon the people in greatest need. This has led in turn to specific consideration of relative emphasis which should in future be placed on the two, previously parallel main components of income security. First, there have been income protection measures universally available to all or most people aimed at improving their general conditions or at preventing them from falling quickly into poverty as the result of various short-term interruptions of their personal income.

Second, there have been measures aimed more directly at the low-income minority of the population whose members either cannot enter the labour force through no fault of their own or who, even when working, do not derive from certain types of work sufficient income to provide adequately for themselves and their families.

The white paper argues that it is the second group that must today engage our main attention and resources. Here are to be found the aged, mothers by themselves raising children, the physically and mentally disabled, and the so-called working poor. Put another way, here are many of the family units in Canada containing children whose health and potential for economic, social and personal development may be limited by conditions beyond their control.

[DOT] (2:10 p.m.)

It is our belief that the people of Canada will share the conviction that the claims of these people must for the next few years at least take precedence. Such agreement would result in increased emphasis on selective income support for people in need, and lessen the emphasis on universal programs.

Thus, the paper proposes strengthening an extension of the concept of providing guaranteed income support not universally but on a selective basis related to family income. Certain alternatives, major and minor, to existing universal programs will enable us to place, in the

November 30, 1970

Social Security

short term, approximately $470 million additional a year in the hands of low-income people. This figure represents $194 million of additional cost under the GIS program, and $270 million redistributed under the family income security plan proposals resulting from benefits withdrawn from higher income families and in tax recoveries from beneficiaries.

For the longer term, proposed changes under the Canada Pension Plan should have the effect of increasing protection for various groups in need by another $365 million a year.

These important improvements can be made without diluting economic development programs which help to ensure productive employment for the majority so that the national wealth with which to assist the less fortunate may continue to be generated.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURIY
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF WHITE PAPER, "INCOME SECURITY FOR CANADIANS"-STATEMENT BY MINISTER
Permalink
PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Robert L. Stanfield (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, we are troubled by the persistence of widespread poverty in Canada. One-fifth of the total population is said to exist below the poverty line. I think we must learn to recognize the face of modern poverty. By far the greatest number of Canadians below the poverty line are working full time or part time and receiving virtually no assistance. Most of the others can work only part time in their part of the country or are old, blind, disabled, or mothers of deserted families. The number of Canadians who are poor because they simply refuse to work is said to be only 3 per cent of all those actually below the poverty line.

We are troubled by the failure of our increasingly costly welfare system to eliminate poverty. Our system was evolved piece by piece over the last half century, with each new program reflecting the problems and the values of its day. But there has never been a comprehensive overhaul of the entire structure based on consistent goals and principles. The result is a rather badly coordinated system which sometimes wastes funds in various areas and ignores real need in others. Such a system cannot be expected to cope with the rapidly changing conditions and problems of our technological society. Certainly a thorough examination is needed.

We believe that our society demands the creation of a full system of social justice. We claim that the major goal of our society should be to maximize every individual's freedom of choice and independence. But for men and women who are forced to devote their lives merely to staying alive there is neither freedom of choice nor independence of mind. Unless we act effectively, one-fifth of the Canadian people and their children after them seem destined to remain in that situation.

We believe such reform should give a key role to incentives. This, of course, does not apply to the aged and those outside the working force. But we should emphasize the necessity and importance of income development, of assisting all Canadians who can work to develop both the ability and the competence to achieve greater income earning potential. Opportunities and incentives are needed to encourage recipients to seek

further training or fuller employment. Our present welfare and retraining programs, which all too often discourage such efforts, must be reformed. We require an income development program for residents of Canada that would be federally sponsored and integrated with provincial programs after full consultation.

A war against poverty was declared in this country a few years ago but it was abandoned. In all fairness, one must emphasize that poverty has actually deepened in the last couple of years in this country as a result of increased unemployment and of the failure of old age pensions, for example, to increase correspondingly with the increase in the cost of living. Certainly this white paper and its proposals are two years late. When one reads the white paper and sees what is in it one wonders why it took two years to prepare it and table it in the House.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURIY
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF WHITE PAPER, "INCOME SECURITY FOR CANADIANS"-STATEMENT BY MINISTER
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURIY
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF WHITE PAPER, "INCOME SECURITY FOR CANADIANS"-STATEMENT BY MINISTER
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PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stanfield:

I will make no comment today on the unemployment insurance proposals which are in a separate package, nor on the proposals regarding the Canada Pension Plan which are not destined to come into effect until 1973. We will have plenty of time to talk about those. As to old age security, the flat rate is to be frozen at $80 a month. Single persons over 65 years of age are guaranteed an income with supplement of $1,620 a year and married couples $3,050 a year. It should be pointed out that the sum of $1,620 a year is still well below the poverty line for a single person over the age of 65. It should be pointed out also that these allowances are subject to tax. Above all, it should be pointed out and emphasized that the 2 per cent upward adjustment in terms of the cost of living is still to prevail for some reason that is quite beyond my comprehension.

The minister pointed out that these changes will cost $194 million. This will be paid out of the old age security fund. I should emphasize in passing that the amount that the government will save as a result of reducing its family allowances program will at least offset the increase in old age security payments. I do not think the minister intended to give the impression, but perhaps he did, that some $270 million is being transferred to recipients of family allowances at the lower end of the income scale. I think the figure is actually $100 million, and the sum actually saved will be some $270 million plus the $100 million. I do not object to the principle of selectivity here, but I emphasize that this assistance to the aged is late, is inadequate, particularly for single persons below the poverty line, and is subject to taxation. I do not see why the older people who have been held up for so long must wait until April 1 of next year to receive any help at all.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURIY
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF WHITE PAPER, "INCOME SECURITY FOR CANADIANS"-STATEMENT BY MINISTER
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURIY
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF WHITE PAPER, "INCOME SECURITY FOR CANADIANS"-STATEMENT BY MINISTER
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PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stanfield:

As to the changes with regard to family allowances, I suggest that the system adopted is rather crude, far cruder than it might have been in the sense that the income eligibility does not vary at all with

November 30, 1970

family income. It could quite easily have incorporated this principle. A child will bring in some $180 a year at the maximum, and these benefits are taxable.

[DOT] (2:20 p.m.)

What might have been a program of substantial help to the working poor, and which might have tied in with a subsequent move toward a more comprehensive plan, seems to me to have been bungled. Above all, in view of the help which the children of low income families need, it seems to me that the government will have some difficulty in justifying why it has removed some $175 million a year from assistance to families with children.

Without going on at great length, Mr. Speaker, may I say that we see here no effective broadening of the basis of security. We see no recognition of the difficulties that the poorer provinces have in using the Canada Pension Plan to provide an adequate level of support in those provinces. We see no recognition at all of the tremendous load that the government has placed on welfare authorities through the increase in unemployment. There is no recognition, Sir, of the need to encourage people and help them to break out of the poverty cycle other than just a general reference that this is something that is going to be discussed with the provinces.

Sir, one-fifth of the Canadian people are living in poverty today. This white paper offers very little hope to most of them. It offers some to the aged, but much less than could have been done for the children of low-income families. After two years of gestation it is a very inadequate response to the needs of this country.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURIY
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF WHITE PAPER, "INCOME SECURITY FOR CANADIANS"-STATEMENT BY MINISTER
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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I am very glad to be able to say that there are a number of things in this white paper, at least this white paper with a blue cover, that are good. There is another side to the coin, but may I indicate briefly the reason for my opening statement.

There is provision for an increase in the pensions of older people who are in need. This is welcome. There is an increase in what we now call family allowance payments for those whose total family income is below $8,000 a year. I hope the minister is not thinking I made a mistake. Between $8,000 and $10,000 the amount of the allowance tapers off, but for families with incomes below $8,000 there is an increase. This is welcome.

The proposals to improve the Canada Pension Plan, so far as I have been able to digest them, are all good. Then, of course, there is the usual bowing three times to the provinces assuring the country that co-operation with them will be sought. This is good, but it happens so often that it is hard to get excited about it.

I said that there was another side to the coin. The first criticism I wish to make is that it seems to me that if half as much time had been spent in trying to work out the details of a guaranteed annual income as was spent explaining to us that it cannot be done, we might be farther along the road. If the government will not listen to us I hope it will listen to the delegates at the policy

Social Security

conference of its own party who said that they want a guaranteed annual income.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURIY
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF WHITE PAPER, "INCOME SECURITY FOR CANADIANS"-STATEMENT BY MINISTER
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?

An hon. Member:

Pie in the sky.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURIY
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF WHITE PAPER, "INCOME SECURITY FOR CANADIANS"-STATEMENT BY MINISTER
Permalink
NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Somebody over there calls it pie in the sky, but that was the position taken at the Liberal conference.

The second criticism I would like to make is with respect to the proposals to improve the Canada Pension Plan. As I say, they are all good, but they are all very much in the future and I get the impression that this book is full of words such as in this very section that tell us how wonderful things are going to be in 1976 and 1977. But the problem is that people are in need right now. In so far as the government relies on the improvements it is going to make in the Canada Pension Plan, I hope it will endeavour to get the provinces to speed up the process of making those improvements.

My third criticism is that this white paper, like so many documents in this field, sets out to help the poor and does so but still keeps them poor. It still provides for two categories of people, those who are self-supporting and those who have to receive aid. I think there are better ways to abolish poverty than by mere subsistence payments such as those set out in this white paper. As a matter of fact, I do not agree that the figures of $135 per month for a retired single person and $255 per month for a retired married couple represent the abolition of poverty.

The fourth criticism, Mr. Speaker, is that although the white paper devotes many paragraphs on many different pages to the subject of veterans legislation, those paragraphs are only descriptive. They tell us what has been done for veterans in the past and they tell us the present situation. However, despite the fact that we have been waiting for months for this white paper to get some lead as to what is to be done for veterans, there is no indication of where veterans fit into this total program of income security for Canadians.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I criticize the decision announced in this white paper, notice of which is already on the order paper, to freeze at $80 the old age security pension in the case of those who do not receive any portion of the guaranteed income supplement. When you call that bill for first reading, Mr. Speaker, I am going to enter a caveat against its procedural admissibility. I contend that there is a contract between the Parliament of Canada and the people of Canada under which our people, having paid taxes into the old age security fund, are entitled to the benefits of the Old Age Security Act. To cut out, as from January, 1971, the 2 per cent annual escalation is breaking that contract, is contravening the policy laid down by Parliament, and I think the bill should be looked at by Your Honour from that standpoint.

I remind the government and I remind the House that Mr. Pearson, Miss LaMarsh, the present Minister of Finance and the present Secretary of State for External Affairs, during the debates on the various bills that have

November 30, 1970

Social Security

amended the Old Age Security Act, emphasized the point that because Canadians were paying into the old age security fund they had coming to them as a right the benefits provided in the Old Age Security Act. One of those benefits is to have the basic pension escalated, if the cost of living goes up, by not more than 2 per cent in any one year. I suggest that to take that away at this time is unfair and unjust and in violation of a policy laid down by Parliament.

I should like to emphasize this point, Mr. Speaker, and with this I shall bring these remarks to a close, by indicating the kind of unfairness that will develop. Under this white paper, if a person is receiving old age security and a guaranteed income supplement combined, he will get up to a 2 per cent increase in his total income each year. But if a person is receiving, let us say, old age security and a retired civil servant's pension-and his total may be just about the same-he will get, by the legislation we passed last March, up to a 2 per cent annual increase in his retired civil servant's pension but no increase in his old age security pension. The third person is one in receipt of old age security and a pension from some private company or some other source. That person will get no increase at all because of the rise in the cost of living. On this basis in particular I think it is most unfair to cut out the annual increase in the basic old age security pension which was provided by Parliament and which is part of the contract we have made.

I agree with the Leader of the Opposition that it is unfortunate the government has not come through with an upward adjustment in the 2 per cent ceiling, but apart from that I submit that denying to the people of Canada who have provided for themselves some other resources and therefore cannot obtain the guaranteed income supplement the right to have their basic pensions escalated from here on is most unfair. This is the feature in the proposals before us to which I object most of all- the freezing of the basic pension at $80 a month.

[DOT] (2:30 p.m.)

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURIY
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF WHITE PAPER, "INCOME SECURITY FOR CANADIANS"-STATEMENT BY MINISTER
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RA

Charles-Eugène Dionne

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Charles-Eugene Dionne (Kamouraska):

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate this opportunity of congratulating the government on its attitude toward Canadian families.

Since 1945, there has been a succession of pleas in favour of an increase in family allowances to parents and now the Economic Council of Canada is requesting, in its fifth annual report, among other things, a review of the Family Allowances Act, while also recording the constant increase in the cost of living. I see that the government has taken these recommendations into account.

To be sure, the time has come to adjust family allowances, as families in the low-income groups are in great need of help.

There is still a great deal to be achieved. Let us hope that the Canadian government will give more and more consideration to the family-consideration coupled with

action. Our birth rate is alarmingly low. Let us help families in a concrete and efficient way.

It is a fact that children have a much better chance to live than they used to, but it is hardly fair to say that the mortality rate in respect of certain types of illness has declined. It has been, in a way, limited through the progress of science, through admirable efforts on the part of doctors as well as through the co-operation and enlightenment of parents.

Judging this progress from only one criteria, that of life conservation, Canada, one of the richest countries in the world, does not rank very high yet among the nations of the world. As a matter of fact, 12 countries have an infant mortality rate lower than Canada.

As far as allowances are concerned, we should take a logical position, because, according to the amounts allocated to foster-homes we find it more profitable to raise other peoples' children.

With regard to old age security pensions, we believe the rate adjustment to be simply ludicrous. There are over 1.5 million senior citizens in Canada, many of whom have reached age 65, with little or no income.

Many a time these hardships are their only reward for a life of toil. It would have been in order to adjust their pensions upwards so as to ensure a decent standard of living. Because of limited protection against rising prices, old age pensioners have felt the bite of inflation much more than most other Canadians.

The social needs of our senior citizens are too often neglected. Retirement draws the worker away from active participation in the activities of those institutions he previously belonged to. Because of some disability or other, or lack of income, they may also be deprived of the services offered in their neighborhood or the community. They may come up against problems that require the help of an expert, but they do not know where to go, and cannot always move about to get help.

Canada must play its proper role toward its older citizens by making sure their years of retirement are as pleasent and fruitful as the resources of the country can allow.

I have watched the behaviour of many political men closely enough to conclude that most of them would favour increasing family allowances and adjusting the old age pension reasonably. Still, they remain paralyzed, because of lack of money or the need to increase taxes, according to their concept of scarcity in an age of affluence.

However, ministers, members of Parliament, senators, judges, commissioners, not to mention the proteges of the system, provide against the cost of living increase. This last category has followed, when it did not go beyond, the cost of living requirements. Nonetheless, it is strange to see how easy it is to understand problems when one's own security is at stake, and how difficult it is to understand a situation as unfortunate as that of a high proportion of our Canadian families.

November 30, 1970

We should be ashamed of such behaviour. To those who can not find any other means than taxes to allow the necessary increases and who did not hesitate to give themselves the increases we all know about, I would ask why they cannot do something to give justified increases to those who need them much more than they do? Why try to ratio Canadian families? Producers and dealers are advertising their goods at great cost.

Why are taxes allowed to undermine the effect of such advertising?

It is simply illogical. In cutting down the flow of money by abusive taxes, the sale of products is at the same time restricted. It is not necessary to be a genius to understand that.

As far as products are concerned, we seem to understand that it is not necessary to deprive people in order to provide all Canadian families with the products they need.

Canada, a rich country, can certainly feed and clothe all Canadians at the same time without depriving some to serve the others. It is a mere question of seeing real wealth in goods instead of seeing it in the symbol which is only a means of getting the goods which are plentiful.

It is unfortunate that too many politicians seem to take seriously the information supplied by the financiers' noisy publicity. It is not surprising that a certain number of our graduates are so eager to turn to socialism.

With their acquired and unassimilated knowledge of science and letters and mostly on account of their ambition to reign rather than serve, they get ready for higher positions in order to enjoy real security. They should rather take into account the needs of the population in general.

We demand tax free allowances and pensions, but this is something that most of our economists are unable to comprehend. They understand everything that is to their advantage, but when it comes to others, they oppose various objections.

We waste too much time, here in this House, trying to And out who-rather than what-is right.

% % *

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURIY
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF WHITE PAPER, "INCOME SECURITY FOR CANADIANS"-STATEMENT BY MINISTER
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CANADA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION


On the order: Introduction of Bills: November 24, 1970-Mr. Saltsman-Bill intituled: "An Act to establish a Canada Development Corporation".


IND

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

I indicated to the House last Friday that the Chair had reservations about this bill and suggested to hon. members who might like to argue about its acceptability from the procedural standpoint that they could argue about it at this time or later, if they preferred to. If the hon. member for Waterloo wishes to present arguments at this time in support of the bill from a procedural standpoint, I shall be pleased to hear him.

Topic:   CANADA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
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NDP

Max Saltsman

New Democratic Party

Mr. Saltsman:

Mr. Speaker, bearing in mind your remarks of last week, I have gone through the bill in an

Questions

attempt to make it acceptable to you, Sir, and I hope that my efforts have been successful. The purpose of a private member's bill very frequently is to direct attention to an important matter. It is not our intention in the bill to suggest that it should involve implications for government revenue. The corporation would be entirely selfsufficient to that extent. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, in light of our intention that this bill should not involve any implications respecting revenue for the government, I hope you will permit it to be introduced.

Topic:   CANADA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
Permalink
IND

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

If there is no further argument about the bill, perhaps I might be allowed to look at the matter a little more closely. I told the hon. member last week that I was very anxious to give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps what has been done with other bills before might be done with this one in the sense that we might be able to look at what might be considered as the financial provisions of the bill and, with the agreement of the House, have it amended accordingly. In any event, I will look into the matter and see if there is anything that can be done by the Chair in co-operation with the hon. member and in co-operation with the parliamentary counsel to make the bill acceptable from a procedural standpoint.

[DOT] (2:40 p.m.)

Topic:   CANADA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
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CRIMINAL CODE

November 30, 1970