May 17, 1972

LIB

Gérald Laniel (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laniel):

Order. The Chair regrets to have to interrupt again the hon. member, but I want to remind him that the House is considering but one of the amendments moved by the hon. member for Simcoe North, that is Motion No. 6, which proposes to strike out, on page 2 of the Bill, the word "is" and substitute the words "shall not be less than". Therefore, this is a very specific and rather restrictive amendment.

I find it difficult to allow the hon. member to carry on with his comments on amendment No. 7, which is not yet before the House at this time.

Topic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING ESCALATION OF PENSIONS, RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS, INCREASE IN GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
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SC

André-Gilles Fortin

Social Credit

Mr. Fortin:

Mr. Speaker, I must say again I can hardly understand your explanations. I shall read the amendment moved by the hon. member for Simcoe North (Mr. Rynard) so that you may be sure that I know what it is about:

May 17, 1972

That Bill C-207, An Act to amend the Old Age Security Act, be amended by striking out the word "is" at lines 14 and 24, page 2 and substituting .the words "shall not be less than".

Now, what can one read in line 14 Mr. Speaker? I quote:

4. (2) (a) for a month in the fifteen-month period commencing with the month of January, 1972 is the amount obtained by multiplying

(i) the basic amount of such pension,

Mr. Speaker, as far as I know, when one is talking about multiplication and division, he is talking about figures. That is precisely what I have been doing since the beginning of my remarks.

Besides, the marginal note says:

Basic amount of pension

and further on:

Annual adjustment of basic amount of pension

Therefore I am justified in speaking of the basic amount and I maintain it should be $200 a month, for all older people in Canada and without any means test. That is why I believe I am complying with the rule of relevance.

I come to the same conclusions upon reading line 24 of the same clause. Indeed one can read in the amendment and I quote:

and substituting the words "shall not be less than".

As far as I know, Mr. Speaker, subtractions and additions concern the basic amounts and I maintain once more that I am complying with the rule of relevance.

I said we brought forward that kind of amendment because we thought that the basic philosophy of Bill C-207 did not correspond to the real situation of older people in Canada.

The philosophy behind this bill and the amendments submitted by the member for Simcoe North on parts of clauses 3 and 4 has demonstrated how complicated it is to give money to our senior citizens and help them.

Those clauses provide for all kinds of mathematical complications, reports, inquiries; each time his financial situation will change the old age pensioner will have to declare it, etc.

Mr. Speaker, granting a guaranteed income supplement is based on a wrong principle. Instead of helping our senior citizens by giving them increased financial assistance, without government bickering, we set a minimum basic amount and, taking into consideration the economic situation as determined by the government, we raise as much as possible the guaranteed income supplement which will be added to this basic amount.

Under the government philosophy it is more important to grant a minimum basic amount and a maximum guaranteed income supplement and thus determine whether elderly people can survive or not. This is quite ridiculous. We believe that we should simply increase the basic amount up to the maximum intended by the government, including the guaranteed income supplement, and give it to all senior citizens whatever their income, without any inquiry and bickering so that they may enjoy the security of a minimum income.

I do not know whether the Minister of National Health and Welfare understands what I am trying to tell him but

Old Age Security Act

I am strongly opposed to the fact that he will not be able to pay this money to the elderly since it is going to be swallowed up by the administration of the basic amount and of the guaranteed income supplement.

Mr. Speaker, so much for the remarks I wanted to make and, as you have noticed, they were quite related to the clause under study.

Topic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING ESCALATION OF PENSIONS, RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS, INCREASE IN GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
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PC

Robert Carman Coates

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Robert C. Coates (Cumberland-Colchester North):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to say just a few words in support of the amendment proposed by the hon. member for Simcoe North (Mr. Rynard). I think the amendment is a realistic one in that what the hon. member is endeavouring to do is to provide the flexibility that the government may need and which is not inherent in the present legislation. What the hon. member for Simcoe North is endeavouring to do is give recognition to the fact that the figure proposed by the government is unrealistic. It is a long time since the cost of living in Canada has increased by only 3i per cent a year. Whether the government likes it or not, and whether it wishes to talk about its great battle to control inflation, the fact of the matter is that it has not controlled inflation and it is not in the neighbourhood of 3i per cent.

The hon. member for Simcoe North is saying that even though the Liberal party does not recognize this fact, the Progressive Conservative party does, and that if the Progressive Conservative party were in office it would put in this bill the type of escalating clause which would guarantee to the people that the purchasing power of their dollars would be as high this year as they were last year, and as high next year as they are this year. This party recognizes that $80 today has a devil of a lot less purchasing power than $80 had a year ago, and certainly a devil of a lot less than $82.80 had a year ago.

It is very easy to get confused about old age security pensions and guaranteed income supplements, Unfortunately, I am sure that sometimes the public does not recognize the difference. The significant difference between the two schemes, as far as I am concerned, is that Canadians have contributed to this pension fund and have a right to receive their fair share from it. It is not something the government is handing out, it is something to which they have a right because they paid for it. Every Canadian, through his contribution to income tax, has paid for an old age security pension. This is just the same as any pension scheme a person in Canada might have with a company for which he has worked. He does not have to come as a supplicant to this government on bended knee in order to receive $82.80 per month in pension. This government has an obligation to pay this money because the old age recipient has contributed.

What bothers me is that this government, when it eliminated the escalator clause, was saying to the old age pension recipient that he was not in fact going to receive an amount equivalent to what he contributed. The government was saying that it was, in fact, precluding these pensioners from receiving the amount they thought they were contributing and would receive. This government and previous governments has taken certain moneys with

May 17, 1972

Old Age Security Act

a certain purchasing power from the old age pensioners of today and tomorrow.

My leader spoke about constant dollars in his speech on the budget debate on Monday. If we look at this bill from a constant dollar point of view, we find that the value of the dollar the government pays to a recipient of old age security when he qualifies at age 65 is less than it was when he contributed through taxes, in spite of the clause proposed by the government containing the 31 per cent escalation. It could well be that the escalation in the cost of living will be twice as high as the 31 per cent stipulated by the government. This is exactly the same situation as that in respect of the 3 per cent perpetual bonds, through which the government is robbing the people of this country blind.

What the hon. member for Simcoe North is suggesting to the contributors to the old age security fund is that we will recognize that they are contributing constant dollars toward old age security and that they will receive constant dollars. In other words, the dollars contributed toward old age security will be of the same value as the dollars received when they qualify for old age security. That is our commitment to the old age security recipient now and in the future. That is what we are interested in and that is the reason we have proposed this amendment.

It may be that the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) could suggest another method of doing the same thing. Our difficulty is that, in endeavouring to propose amendments to a piece of government legislation, you must take the legislation as you find it and amend it in the best way you can. I believe the hon. member for Simcoe North has endeavoured to do that. If the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre has a better idea as to how this can be done, and if he proposes such a way, I know that the hon. member for Simcoe North will, as will every other hon. member of the Conservative party, support such an amendment.

Topic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING ESCALATION OF PENSIONS, RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS, INCREASE IN GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
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NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Would you vote for a $150 basic pension?

Topic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING ESCALATION OF PENSIONS, RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS, INCREASE IN GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
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PC

Robert Carman Coates

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Coates:

I am not opposed to that.

Topic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING ESCALATION OF PENSIONS, RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS, INCREASE IN GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
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NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Just your leader.

Topic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING ESCALATION OF PENSIONS, RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS, INCREASE IN GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
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PC

Robert Carman Coates

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Coates:

I am speaking for myself right now. What I am saying is that we would like to see the old age security recipient in this country receive justice. He is not going to receive justice under this legislation, nor will he receive it when getting an extra $2.80 per month. There are ways and means, and certainly sufficient funds, to see that these recipients do get justice. I cannot for the life of me understand why this government is not willing to give the old age security recipients what they need and have a right to receive. I do not believe the government's proposal will accomplish that, but I believe that the amendment brought forward by the hon. member for Simcoe North is a step in the right direction. It could meet the situation if properly applied. There may be other ways of doing this, and I do not argue with that. There is always more than one way to accomplish something. I suggest that this amendment would provide a more equitable deal for the old age recipients of this country than the proposition contained in the legislation now before us.

Topic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING ESCALATION OF PENSIONS, RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS, INCREASE IN GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
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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, I have had the opportunity of listening to the hon. member for Simcoe North (Mr. Rynard) and of reading the clause of the bill the hon. member would choose to amend. I must say I fail to see what significance the amendment will have. The clause of the bill states what, in fact, the escalation is to be. The effect of the hon. member's amendment would be to make this escalation not less than what it is in fact to be. I question what impact this would have.

That being my view, I do not intend to go into the substance of some of the allegations, comments and observations of the hon. member and others. If they are relevant, I think it is not with reference to this particular amendment but rather to third reading, and I will be more than happy to take advantage of my opportunity of rebuttal on third reading, if these views are expressed again at that particular time.

Topic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING ESCALATION OF PENSIONS, RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS, INCREASE IN GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
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LIB

Gérald Laniel (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laniel):

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the said motion? All those in favour will please say yea.

Topic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING ESCALATION OF PENSIONS, RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS, INCREASE IN GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Yea.

Topic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING ESCALATION OF PENSIONS, RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS, INCREASE IN GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
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LIB

Gérald Laniel (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laniel):

All those opposed will please say nay.

Topic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING ESCALATION OF PENSIONS, RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS, INCREASE IN GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Nay.

Topic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING ESCALATION OF PENSIONS, RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS, INCREASE IN GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
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LIB

Gérald Laniel (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laniel):

In my opinion the nays have it.

Topic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING ESCALATION OF PENSIONS, RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS, INCREASE IN GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

On division.

Topic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING ESCALATION OF PENSIONS, RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS, INCREASE IN GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
LIB

Gérald Laniel (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laniel):

I declare the motion negatived on division.

Motion No. 5 (Mr. Rynard) negatived.

Topic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING ESCALATION OF PENSIONS, RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS, INCREASE IN GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
LIB

Gérald Laniel (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laniel):

Before I render a decision on motion No. 7 put forward by the hon. member for Simcoe North (Mr. Rynard), perhaps I should give notice of the first impression of the Chair regarding the acceptability of this motion. In my opinion, it would require additional expenditure on the part of the Crown and on this basis I would have difficulty in accepting the motion. If hon. members have opinions on the acceptability of that motion I would like to hear them. Otherwise, I will make a decision at this time.

Topic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING ESCALATION OF PENSIONS, RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS, INCREASE IN GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
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PC

Gerald William Baldwin (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. W. Baldwin (Peace River):

Mr. Speaker, perhaps it is fair that I should argue this one.

Topic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING ESCALATION OF PENSIONS, RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS, INCREASE IN GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

You won when you did not argue.

Topic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING ESCALATION OF PENSIONS, RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS, INCREASE IN GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
PC

Gerald William Baldwin (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baldwin:

with an amendment which might seem at first blush to infringe upon the Crown's right to initiate expenditures:

This is obviously, I think, a broad amendment, since it would force the Crown to incur additional expenditures.

Using that as a yardstick, I suggest that this amendment does not in fact force the Crown to incur additional expenses because there are certain safeguards written into it. In the first instance, it provides that there is to be an instruction to consider the advisability of inserting therein the following clause. This is the old, traditional method, which we have used in the House for a great many years, of dealing with the question of advisability. It may well be that in considering the advisability the committee may seek a legal opinion. The law officers of the House may be present, and they may say to the members of the committee that what they seek to do they cannot do because of certain rules and certain statutes. I call that to your attention in the first instance, Mr. Speaker.

Your Honour is aware of the fact that there are several types of amendment on third reading referring matters back to a committee. Some of them contain a direction that the committee do something. This is not one of them. This is a direction that it be sent back to the committee with an instruction to consider the advisability of doing something. With all due deference, I think it would be drawing a long bow to say that a committee cannot be urged by the House to consider the advisability of doing something, even though the Chair may have a fairly strong view that what they may urge to be done might not be proper.

Then, I go to what is set out in paragraph 2 of the amendment which reads:

No order may be made under subsection (1) until the proposed text of the order has been laid before the House of Commons by a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and the making of the order has been approved by a resolution of the House of Commons.

I take it that that is a safeguard which is written into this amendment by which the House will be instructing the committee to ensure that all proper and legal steps are taken. It may well be that Your Honour or any member of the House cannot exclude the possibility that in committee, as a result of persuasive and eloquent arguments which are made by members of the committee, the government may be persuaded that what we are proposing to do is sensible and generous. I recognize that may be very difficult, because one thing we know about this government is that so far it has not been kind, compassionate or generous in dealing with old age pensioners. But I do not rule out the possibility that eloquent and strong argument in the committee might well persuade the government to change its mind. If the government saw fit to change its mind, and to support an amendment of this kind, it could affix legality to it through the text of an order to be laid before the House of Commons by a member of the Queen's Privy Council.

Finally, the third paragraph of the amendment reads:

Expenditures required under an order made under subsection

(1) should be paid for out of moneys to be appropriated by parliament.

You have to read into that the words "to be appropriated by parliament pursuant to the laws of this land".

Old Age Security Act

I suggest that if you put all this together, what you have is a recommendation from the House to the committee to consider the advisability of inserting this clause, but to do so only on the understanding that all of the things which have to be done to provide it with a cloak of legality are in fact carried out. That is the limit of the recommendation. I would have no hesitation at all in doubting the acceptability of the amendment if the bill were to be referred back to the standing committee with a direct instruction that the following clause be inserted therein. But when the safeguards are written into it, then the House is in fact saying to its faithful committee: "attempt to improve this bill but do so only when you can do it by the proper steps which need to be taken under the constitution to make it effective."

Having in mind the impediment which is faced by members of the House in attempting to secure a better form of arrangement for old age pensioners, I suggest that the Chair should be vigilant and alert in trying to find ways and means of construing my argument so as to make this amendment acceptable.

Topic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING ESCALATION OF PENSIONS, RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS, INCREASE IN GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
LIB

James Alexander Jerome (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. Jerome:

I wonder if the hon. member was speaking on motion No. 7, because I fail to follow his argument.

Topic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING ESCALATION OF PENSIONS, RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS, INCREASE IN GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
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May 17, 1972