November 22, 1979


November 22, 1979 Old Age Security


LIB

James Alexander Jerome (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

It being after six o'clock, I do now leave the chair until eight o'clock this evening.

At 6.04 p.m. the House took recess.

Topic:   THE ROYAL ASSENT
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AFTER RECESS The House resumed at 8 p.m.


GOVERNMENT ORDERS

OLD AGE SECURITY ACT


The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-6, to amend the Old Age Security Act, as reported (without amendments) from the Standing Committee on Health, Welfare and Social Affairs.


LIB

Gérald Laniel (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Pursuant to the order made earlier this day the House will now proceed to the consideration of the report stage of Bill C-6. May I remind hon. members that at 9.45 p.m., under the provisions of the same order, all questions necessary to dispose of the bill will be put from the chair?

Hon. members have received notice of a number of motions to amend the bill, all of which, in my view, appear to be in order from a procedural standpoint. May I suggest, pursuant to Standing Order 75(10), that motions Nos. 1 and 3 could be debated together, with a vote on motion number one disposing of number three? Also, motions Nos. 2 and 5, in the opinion of the Chair should be grouped for debate.

As motion No. 2 is consequential on motion No. 5, the question will be put on motion No. 5 and a vote on that motion would dispose also of motion No. 2. Motions Nos. 4 and 6 might also be grouped for debate, and an affirmative vote on motion No. 6 would also dispose of motion No. 4. However, a negative vote would necessitate the question being put on motion No. 4. Is that agreeable to the House?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles:

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I said nothing when you asked if the arrangements you made were acceptable, mainly because they are, but I rise now to suggest that although the arrangements you have proposed would make possible three separate debates at the report stage, frankly I do not think three separate debates are necessary, and I am suggesting that you might allow the House in the first debate, which is on motions Nos. 1 and 3, to cover the whole package of amendments. We who were on the committee understand that it took several amendments to do the job, technically speaking, but for my part I would be quite satisfied

to say what I have to say at the report stage in one debate, if the rest of the members will agree.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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LIB

Roméo LeBlanc

Liberal

Mr. LeBlanc:

Mr. Speaker, we feel that this proposal of the NDP leader is perfectly acceptable. We feel there is no use going into technical details. We want to discuss and adopt this bill, with the changes agreed upon in committee.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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PC

David Edward Crombie (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Crombie:

Mr. Speaker, I am happy for the intervention of both hon. members opposite. I thought perhaps it might be even more useful if all six motions were read, if we had one debate and if we dealt with the matter that way. I do not have any lengthy comments to make. In fact they ought to last about 70 seconds, but my comments would deal with all six motions, and motions Nos. 5 and 6 are the crucial ones.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles:

Mr. Speaker, that in spirit is in line with what I have suggested. If, for technical reasons, it would be a good idea to have all six amendments read and put on the record at one place, I would go along with the suggestion the minister has made, and so would my friend, the hon. member for Westmorland-Kent (Mr. LeBlanc).

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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LIB

Gérald Laniel (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

The Chair would be ready to agree to that as long as any amendments could be taken-if there were any-in the order in wich I have communicated to the House. Is it agreed that I put the six motions to the House at one time and allow hon. members to speak on all of them, not only permitting members to cover the whole spectrum of each of the amendments, but also making sure there is not too much repetition, which is also one of the responsibilities of the Chair?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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PC

David Edward Crombie (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. David Crombie (Minister of National Health and Welfare) moved:

Motion No. 1.

That Bill C-6, to amend the Old Age Security Act, be amended in clause 1 by striking out lines 4 to 9 at page 1 and substituting the following therefor:

" 1. (1) Subsection 7(2) of the Old Age Security Act is repealed.

(2) Subsection (1) does not confer any right to a pension in respect of any

month preceding November 1979."

Motion No. 2.

That Bill C-6, to amend the Old Age Security Act, be amended in clause 2 by striking out line 20 at page 1 and substituting the following therefor:

"17.31(5), no spouse's allowance may be".

Motion No. 3.

That Bill C-6, to amend the Old Age Security Act, be amended in clause 3 by striking out lines 27 to 29 at page 1 and lines 1 to 3 at page 2 and substituting the following therefor:

"3. (1) Subsection 17.3( 1) of the said act is repealed.

(2) Subsection (1) does not confer any right to a spouse's allowance in

respect of any month preceding November 1979."

Motion No. 4.

That Bill C-6, to amend the Old Age Security Act, be amended by deleting clause 4 and by renumbering the subsequent clauses accordingly.

November 22, 1979

Motion No. 5.

That Bill C-6, to amend the Old Age Security Act, be amended in clause 5 by

(a) striking out lines 15 to 31 at page 2 and substituting the following therefor:

"(a) a pensioner died or dies at any time after September 30, 1975, and

(b) a spouse's allowance was (or is) payable to the spouse of the pensioner for the month in which the pensioner died (or dies),

a spouse's allowance may be paid to the surviving spouse of the pensioner

(c) commencing with the month of November 1979, where the pensioner died between the beginning of October 1975 and the end of October 1979, or

(d) commencing with the month following the month in which the pensioner dies, where the pensioner dies after October 31, 1979.

(2) No spouse's allowance is payable under subsection (1) where, prior to

the end of October 1979, the surviving spouse attained sixty-five years of age

or remarried."

(b) renumbering subsections 17.31(2) to (4) accordingly.

Motion No. 6.

That Bill C-6, to amend the Old Age Security Act, be amended by adding immediately after line 15 at page 6 the following new clause:

"8. This act shall be deemed to have come into force on October 31, 1979."

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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LIB

Gérald Laniel (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

I wish to bring to the attention of hon. members that to motions Nos. 1, 3, 5 and 6 there are recommendations from His Excellency the Governor General.

The question is on motions Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Shall motion No. 1 carry?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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PC

David Edward Crombie (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Crombie:

Mr. Speaker, during the standing committee hearings on this bill and, indeed, during second reading debate, hon. members on both sides of this House voiced their support for an amendment to be made to enhance further the effectiveness of the amendments in Bill C-6. Specifically, it was proposed that the bill be amended to reinstate all of those spouse's allowance recipients who had been cut off the program since October, 1975, because of the death of the older pensioner spouse and who still meet the other eligibility requirements. That is, anyone who has not already turned 65 or remarried, and who is still otherwise eligible, may be reinstated on the allowance with effect from November, 1979. Cabinet has seen the wisdom of this proposal and has approved this change so that there will not be two classes of allowance recipients, pre- and post-amendment.

As a consequential amendment and to maintain the spirit of the change, pensioners currently serving prison terms of more than 90 days will also have their benefits reinstated.

This change is not without some cost. An additional amount of approximately $6 million in 1980-81 will be spent to benefit the some 3,000 more people who will now benefit from the program. The gains, I am sure all hon. members of the House will agree, however, are far offset by the equity which is involved in the proposed changes.

Since this is my first attempt at report stage and third reading, I might say that it was a good experience from my point of view in that hon. members from all sides participated in the change. It was agreed to, and I therefore conclude with the thought that it has shown me, and perhaps others, that indeed the parliamentary process is a good forum for an effective exchange of opinions.

Old Age Security

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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LIB

Roméo LeBlanc

Liberal

Hon. Romeo LeBlanc (Westmorland-Kent):

Mr. Speaker, 1 will make only brief comments on the motions which have been presented. The fact is that the minister used a rather happy phrase when he said that the cabinet had seen the wisdom of the recommendation he made to it. 1 am gratified to see that the minister is such a fast learner. I also think the minister saw the wisdom of some of the points of view expressed by members opposite.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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?

An hon. Member:

And on this side too.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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LIB

Roméo LeBlanc

Liberal

Mr. LeBlanc:

Yes, on that side too, I must say that the speech of the hon. member for Grey-Simcoe (Mr. Mitges) during the second reading contained the point that there should have been an element of retroactivity. There is no doubt that the minister has learned a great deal from this experience. I think it is a very humane thing for him to have done to requalify those who certainly must have felt that the previous legislation-and I say this without any mea culpa-had some serious limitations to it, and we all recognize that. By going back and reinstating those who had been disqualified by the time periods contained in the original clauses, the minister has shown lucidity in relation to the opposition and some obvious clout with his colleagues in the cabinet. So we congratulate him for it.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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November 22, 1979