May 17, 1972

NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

No, I really did not mean that we would end the debate, but at that point we re-assess the situation to find out if we could finish in another eight or ten minutes. I am trying to find a way to end this debate today, and to do it happily by agreement.

May 17, 1972

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

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

Obviously, there is no agreement. If there is no agreement the Chair has to put the motion. I will inquire if there is agreement.

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

Some hon. Members:

No.

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

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

Order. The hon. member for Abitibi (Mr. Laprise) has indicated that there is no agreement. Therefore the question is-

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

Gérard Laprise

Social Credit

Mr. Laprise:

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

I tried to explain a few minutes ago that we were willing to have the House sit until 6.30. If at 6.30 the discussion is over, we could proceed with the vote. However, if at 6.30 o'clock, some members want to have the floor, I would not wish to prevent them from doing so. The debate could be resumed to-morrow because I feel the sun will rise again in the morning as usual.

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

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

Liberal

Mr. Jerome:

Mr. Speaker, it occurs to me that that objective can easily be achieved by passing the motion and stopping the debate at 6.30, which would accommodate everybody's point of view.

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

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

Order. It is obvious to the Chair that the only thing to do is to put the motion.

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 blew it, Jim.

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

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. Mr. Jerome, seconded by Mr. Watson, moves pursuant to Standing Order 6:

That the hours of sitting be extended beyond six o'clock this day until debate upon third reading of Bill C-207 is concluded.

Are any members objecting?

And more than ten members having risen:

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

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

There being more than ten members objecting, the motion is deemed to have been withdrawn.

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):

I suppose you have to learn the hard way, Jim.

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, I would like to repeat what I said before, and add that if the hon. member for Sudbury (Mr. Jerome) had not intervened I would have completed what I had to say by this time. However, we are still prepared to sit until 6.30.

We have in the past waived the notices which have been required. We have been co-operative. We have done all that an opposition could do with respect to expediting this bill, still retaining our right to debate intelligently and responsibly what we think are errors and defects in the legislation. If we did anything less than that we would not be discharging our duty to our constituents and to parliament. And having said that, Mr. Speaker, I repeat that this party is still prepared to sit until 6.30 with respect to this measure. I hope that the measure will pass, much as I dislike many aspects of it. And it probably will pass, either by 6.30 or certainly by some time early tomorrow afternoon. It will then go to the other place, and no doubt will become law.

Old Age Security Act

Let me say very hastily that there are three aspects of the bill which disturb me, despite the fact that it is going to pass and that we are not opposing its passage. In the first place, so far as the amounts are concerned, the government has shown itself to have all the characteristics of a shabby, mean, petty-fogging, Scrooge approach to the older people of this land. There is no question about it. Those are the facts. Having calculatedly brought about a measure of inflation in this country to which the older people were exposed as the first victims, and having resisted strongly all attempts from this side of the House-in a non-partisan manner I include members from all opposition parties-over the months and years to expand the spending power of the older people who are in need of increased pensions to make up for the difficulties which inflation has brought upon them, the government has persisted in its attitude. The government voted against our motions to amend existing statutes, motions which all parties on the opposition side launched through the medium of opposition days, and the traditional motions with respect to the Speech from the Throne and budget. Our proposals have not been accepted and everybody on the other side, from the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) down, has voted against them. However, some improvement in the pension position of the elderly is being made and we propose to support it.

The second thing I dislike about the bill is the way it has been introduced. I repeat what I said about the attempts made by the opposition to improve the lot of these people and the rejection of those attempts by the government. Then suddenly, in what appears to be the dying days of Parliament, we are told "Take it or leave it; it has to be through by a certain day and we require from you all forms of acceptance in order that the bill may receive Royal Assent by this Friday". This is not a way to govern this country; this is not a way to pass legislation which is so badly required for the benefit of the old people of this land. I resent having to give my approval under these circumstances and against this background.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, there has been a problem in relation to the constitutional issue, the federal-provincial aspect and the abrasive attitude of this government in its approach to the other provinces, in particular the province of Quebec. In this regard I should like to quote from an interview with the Prime Minister published today in the Toronto Star. The interviewer said:

I was wondering too, and I don't want to ask phoney questions about election dates and so on, but it has crossed my mind about the effect of calling an election if this Quebec problem continues over the months.

I say here, Mr. Speaker, that there had been some discussion, as there has been in the press and in the mind of the Prime Minister, about the attitude taken by ministers in the Quebec government on this bill and the lack of consultation on it. There had even been public threats of resignation by Quebec ministers. The question continues:

I wonder what would be the effect of an election with Quebec in this state of semi-turmoil?

This is the answer:

It's hard to say but my guess would be that it would rather serve the cause of federalism and hopefully of our government-

May 17, 1972

Old Age Security Act

Our Liberal government, of course.

-to have that kind of an election, because I think the people of Quebec want to be reassured that there is at least one strong government somewhere. And if we are campaigning in Quebec and saying: "Look, you may be having troubles locally but don't worry; the country is in good strong hands; please vote for us", I think it wouldn't be disadvantageous to us.

I am sure Premier Bourassa is saying to himself "With friends like these, who needs enemies".

The province of Quebec made its position clear with respect to this bill. I do not necessarily share their views, but there has been abrasiveness and divisiveness between the two governments. In these circumstances, the leader of this government which is trying to push through this bill, publicly makes this cold, calculated statement. With this background, Mr. Speaker, it irks me very much to have to give my approval to this bill but I do so, as do my colleagues. We know the increase is not enough, and it is not given under the circumstances it should be, but we know that these people need it desperately. In these conditions, we propose to do what we can to see that the bill passes and that, hopefully, it will receive Royal Assent within the time required.

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

René Matte

Social Credit

Mr. Rene Matte (Champlain):

Mr. Speaker, may I be permitted to briefly resume my position concerning Bill C-207.

During the debate on second reading, I explained with enough detail that the government behaved in an equival manner when it introduced point-blank this legislation aimed at increasing the old age security pensions. Some errors and, above all, the omissions of the last session are being remedied to a certain extent.

No doubt pressed by the imminence of the next general election, the government did not really try to improve the Old Age Security Act or to provide greater purchasing power to people 65 or over. It was satisfied with some window dressing. It did stop to consider the case of married couples aged 60. And yet, how many times did we urge the government seriously to consider this possibility? They did not care at all about the serious consequences that such a decision might have on the Quebec government, and on this point, I agree with the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Baldwin).

The Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) hides behind a so-called correspondence that they refused to table at the beginning of the afternoon. This is why I speak of a so-called correspondence with the responsible authorities of the Quebec National Assembly.

At a time when unrest prevails in the province, they stir the fire by provoking, arrogantly-this is the very expression used by Premier Bourassa-the Quebec ministers, Messrs. Castonguay, L'Allier, Toupin and Cournoyer. It is very nice to say that they are always ready to consult and co-operate with the Quebec government. It is clear, however, that they could not care less. This is the way to increase social inequities.

Concretely, what does this mean? A Quebec social welfare pension of $135 for persons aged 60 to 64 inclusively. At age 65, the federal Department of National Health and Welfare grants them $285 per month. That difference of

$150 is what provoked the Quebec government: it was too much for Mr. Bourassa's cabinet.

I cannot but deplore this situation which could have been avoided if our suggestions had been heeded. I feel sure that if we take away from the Quebec Social Affairs Department responsibility for all families where parents are aged 60 to 65, we will be helping Quebec out of a difficult situation and we will be helping to create the famous just society for which the Canadian people are still waiting.

Mr. Speaker, those were the remarks I wanted to make on third reading.

I should like, on behalf of the people of the riding I am pleased to represent in this House, to indicate that we are, of course, ready to support an increase in the old age security pension, but that we regret the questionable conduct of the government under the present circumstances. And we are all longing for more justice, more equity, more security, to be established, as soon as possible, for all Canadians. That is why we insisted so much for the minister to implement our suggestions, in view of the fact that our amendments were rejected.

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

Maurice Brydon Foster (Chief Government Whip's assistant)

Liberal

Mr. Foster:

Mr. Speaker, before you call it six o'clock, may I ask permission of the House to revert to routine proceedings in order to table a committee report?

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

Prosper Boulanger (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Boulanger):

Is this agreed?

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

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

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

VETERANS AFFAIRS


Second report of Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs-Mr. Foster. [Editor's Note: For text of above report see today's Votes and Proceedings.]


GOVERNMENT ORDERS

May 17, 1972