October 27, 1978

PC

Walter David Baker (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baker (Grenville-Carleton):

I will tell hon. members how this relates to the bill. There is not another member of parliament who would wish more than I that the $179 million which was wasted on Les Terrasses de la Chaudiere, the money spent on things which are going to be found out in the investigation of York Place, the glass monstrosity of the Bank of Canada which will cost us millions and which is a monument to the architect rather than to good sense, and the $210 million blown on the unemployment insurance program, could go to the objectives spoken about so eloquently by the Minister

October 27, 1978

of National Health and Welfare (Miss Begin) when I heard her speak yesterday.

That is the tragedy of all this. We speak of what we have done about redistributing income in Canada. From 1968 to 1978 the budget in Canada has grown from $10 billion to almost $50 billion, and yet the proportion of Canadian families below the poverty line is just about the same as it was in 1968. We have not succeeded in redistributing income successfully at all. Perhaps it is because we have concentrated so much on redistribution and not on developing the economic pie upon which redistribution could be based and on which a change in it could be based.

That is why I feel sorry about the situation our country is in today. I do not pretend to be any more compassionate than any other member of this House, nor do I take second place to any other member. But I wonder when the day is going to come when we are going to be asked to support proper social programs, and when we will have a government which has a real commitment to restraint and to priorizing in terms of where our country is going, so that we will not waste as we have, so that we will not dissipate the riches we have, so that we can give our children and our children's children some opportunities, so that we can do something about unemployment which now stands so high and so that we can do something for senior citizens who, when they speak to me about the benefits of this bill, as good as they are, say, "Mr. Baker, that still does not get me out of the problem in which I find myself'. They tell me that they are worried about their future and still feel insecure.

We support this bill. The minister tried to say that I was insecure about my future. That is not in my hands. I am talking about the senior citizens who have spoken to me. They still say that, as commendable as these steps are-I commend the minister for taking these steps, and this party intends to support the bill and allow it to go to committee today-the government ought not to break its arm patting itself on the back. It has our support with respect to every worth while program. It has the support of all sides of the House. We just wish that in terms of the management of the business of the country the government would give us an equal dose of common sense. The Canadian people are sick and tired of waste and of seeing large tax increases month after month and then finding themselves further and further behind. When we put this bill through today, perhaps the government will bend its efforts to get to the root of many other problems. We will support appropriate social programs in Canada.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
LIB

Denis Éthier (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ethier):

May I point out to hon. members that if I recognize the Minister of National Health and Welfare at this point, she will close the debate. The hon. member for Hillsborough (Mr. Macquarrie).

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
PC

Heath Nelson Macquarrie

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macquarrie:

Mr. Speaker, could I say-[DOT]

Old Age Security Act

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
LIB

Yvon Pinard (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. Pinard:

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

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
LIB

Denis Éthier (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ethier):

The Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council on a point of order.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
LIB

Yvon Pinard (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. Pinard:

Mr. Speaker, you thought the minister was about to rise and because of that you pointed out that in so doing she would close the debate. The hon. member on my left was trying to be recognized at the same time, and I believe you did not see him inadvertently. According to tradition, hon. members are allowed to rise alternately, and one hon. member was trying to be recognized who should have been allowed to speak.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
LIB

Denis Éthier (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ethier):

That is precisely what happened. While warning the minister, I noticed the hon. member for Hillsborough (Mr. Macquarrie). But I believe I had been given the name of the hon. member for York East (Mr. Collenette).

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
LIB

David Michael Collenette (Parliamentary Secretary to the Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. D. M. Collenette (Parliamentary Secretary to Postmaster General):

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry there was confusion this afternoon regarding this bill, and I am sorry that the hon. member for Grenville-Carleton (Mr. Baker) went on for so long and denied hon. members on this side of an opportunity to reply. The hon. member was well within his time, but he showed the type of advantage which is taken.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
PC

Walter David Baker (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baker (Grenville-Carleton):

That is not fair.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
LIB

David Michael Collenette (Parliamentary Secretary to the Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. Collenette:

Hon. members are certainly not gentlemanly in that respect.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
PC

Walter David Baker (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baker (Grenville-Carleton):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I shortened my remarks, but let me just say, so that my friends will feel much better, that we on this side are prepared to extend the hours of this House, if the government is agreeable, in order that the hon. member for Hillsborough (Mr. Macquarrie) and any other member can speak, on the assumption that this bill will go to committee today.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
LIB

David Michael Collenette (Parliamentary Secretary to the Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. Collenette:

Mr. Speaker, I have never seen the hon. member for Grenville-Carleton as unctuous as he was today, and it is certainly a sight to behold.

I strongly support this bill and, had I the time, I would have liked to go on at length and talk about the reasons why I am a great supporter of the universality of the old age pension program. I would have liked to talk about my experiences while growing up in Great Britain after the war when many millions of people were left alone and destitute. Many lost children and other relatives in the war, and the protection afforded by the state through the old age pension program was one means whereby people could maintain their dignity and their standard of living. I base my remarks on a great philosophical tradition in terms of support of old age pensions. One

October 27, 1978

Old Age Security Act

must remember that it was the Liberal party of Great Britain which was the originator of the social security program in that country, and it was the Liberal party in this country which brought in old age pensions and other social legislation.

I support the bill, but I would like it to go somewhat further. I would like to see the $20 which is to go to people on the guaranteed income supplement extended to everyone who receives old age pensions. About 20 per cent of the people of my constituency are senior citizens. Many of them live in their own homes or in rental accommodation. Most of them do not live in housing for senior citizens supplied by the state, in this case the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority.

Housing for senior citizens in metropolitan Toronto is probably second to none anywhere in the country. Metropolitan Toronto has a good program. There are good housing units there, but not everyone chooses to live in senior citizen accommodation. Thousands of people prefer to stay in their own homes or in apartments. That encourages a sense of independence and non-reliance on the state or other people. I think it is beneficial to the state that many people do remain in their own homes. The party opposite is always conscious of dollars and cents, and I suggest that by encouraging people to stay in their own homes or in rental accommodation we encourage a saving to the state because federal and provincial governments build senior citizen housing.

However, there is one problem with senior citizens who wish to stay in their own homes, and that is that with increasing inflation and especially increasing property taxes people are being driven out.

I should like to explore an avenue which is related to something brought up recently by the Conservative party in the by-elections. As the hon. member for Grenville-Carleton said, the Conservative party is concerned about social security and the state of our old people. In the by-election campaign, that party introduced a scheme of mortgage deductibility. Yesterday the hon. member for Brome-Missisquoi (Mr. Graff-tey) castigated the Liberal party and referred to this scheme which makes the Conservative party the sheriff of Nottingham of today-those people who plunder the poor to give to the rich. That party would be well advised not to think of mortgage deductibility for upper middle income Canadians, but of course that is the vote they are after. They should consider a scheme whereby senior citizens would receive some form of tax credit to assist them in remaining in their own homes, a tax credit related to their property taxes.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
LIB

David Michael Collenette (Parliamentary Secretary to the Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. Collenette:

The government of Ontario has such a scheme. It is a good one, but it does not go far enough. There is no reason why this scheme should not be extended right across the country. I am not a tax expert so I will not go into any great detail.

When the Minister of Finance (Mr. Chretien) brings down his budget in a few weeks, I urge him to take into account the

plight of people who although they may have a few thousand dollars in the bank, live in their own homes or rental accommodation but are being squeezed out of their homes and losing their sense of independence. Perhaps many people want to move into senior citizens' accommodation and nursing homes, but the majority would like to stay where they belong, where they lived all their lives, to encourage this sense of independence.

Such a tax credit scheme to aid senior citizens would be supported in the House. Certainly it is a progressive scheme; it is a Liberal one. It does not go along with the charade of a scheme introduced by hon. members opposite. Their scheme is punitive and would give undue benefit to those who least need help.

As 1 said earlier, the increase of $20 a month should be applied right across the board. In fact, if it can be afforded this year, it should be doubled.

Further to what the hon. member for Davenport (Mr. Caccia) said, the old age security system should be available to anyone after age 60.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Hear, hear!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
LIB

David Michael Collenette (Parliamentary Secretary to the Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. Collenette:

The hon. member for Esquimalt-Saanich (Mr. Munro) indicated that there are people who want to continue working. They should have that right to continue or choose whether they want to receive the benefits of old age security. Even though many people know it is their due, they do not like to admit, at the ages of 65, 66 or 67, that perhaps their usefulness to society is over. I can understand that. If they want to continue working, they should be encouraged to do so.

But there are many others who would appreciate pension benefits at age 60. I am referring to people who worked in labour intensive industries with their bare hands. For example, a mine worker at Inco, a worker at a uranium mine, a fisherman, forest worker, outdoor worker or a construction worker perhaps does the work of two people in his lifetime because of the physical toll taken by his jobs. With all the technological advances and the relative wealth of society in 1978, it is a crime that these people do not have the option of receiving the old age pension at 60 when they start to wear out, if you will. I recognize the plight of the government in terms of expenditure, yet I would like to see these programs go further.

The hon. member for Davenport alluded to the theme of the duplicity of the Conservative party. The Conservatives in metropolitan Toronto are preaching restraint. They are the Sterling Lyons of Ontario. The hon. member for St. John's East (Mr. McGrath) and other members from the maritimes have a genuine concern for the plight of the less favoured regions of Canada. They come to the House and attempt to come to grips with statements made by their colleagues elsewhere. I feel sorry for them and their party because they will never resolve these differences; their positions are so rigid.

Over the years the government has succeeded in coming to terms with the less favoured regions of the country by assisting them. This has been achieved by people in the wealthy provinces, like myself and other members from Ontario, such as the hon. member for Welland (Mr. Railton), the hon. member for Bruce-Grey (Mr. Douglas), the hon. member for Davenport, and the hon. Secretary of State (Mr. Roberts). We are not faced with the same problems of the hon. member for Grenville-Carleton when defending equalization in Ontario. We were the ones who pushed it through. Perhaps the Conservative party has some difficulty with this problem, but the Liberals do not suffer embarrassment by helping those Canadians who need help the most.

Old Age Security Act

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
LIB

Denis Éthier (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ethier):

Is the House ready for the question?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Question.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink

Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Health, Welfare and Social Affairs.


LIB

Denis Éthier (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ethier):

It being after five o'clock, this House stands adjourned until Monday at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 2(1).

At 5 p.m. the House adjourned, without question put, pursuant to Standing Order.

Monday, October 30, 1978

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT
Permalink

October 27, 1978