November 22, 1979 (31st Parliament, 1st Session)


Marcel Ostiguy


Mr. Marcel Ostiguy (Saint-Hyacinthe):

Mr. Speaker, I have decided this evening to speak very briefly on Bill C-6 introduced on October 19, because when the amendment of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) was moved on October 26, I rose to tell this government that the bill tabled on October 17 includes only part of the promises and commitments that it made during the election campaign in May. As the people of the constituency that I have the honour to represent will remember, the government had stated and promised that it would bring down the age of eligibility for pensions to 60 for all citizens.
Obviously, Bill C-6 does something to improve pensions, especially for women who have the misfortune to lose their husband before reaching the age of 65 and who receive the spouse's allowance. It is obvious that this government tried everything to get the vote of retired people, but Quebeckers realized that it was a trap and did not rise to the bait.
Quite recently, in committee, without the vigilance of the Liberal members and the great experience of the hon. member for Saint-Leonard-Anjou (Miss Begin) we are convinced that the amendment moved tonight by the minister, which will certainly improve this bill, would not have been passed. I therefore congratulate the hon. member for Saint-Leonard-Anjou and all the Libera! members of the committee. Because of this amendment, all women who have the misfortune to lose their husband before reaching the age of 65 will be eligible in the future.
Of course, once again, a certain group in our society has been neglected. As the hon. member for Mercier (Mrs. Her-vieux-Payette) said earlier, there are all the widows, all the single people, all the women between 60 and 65 who cannot join the labour market and who must apply for social welfare in certain provinces, at least in Quebec. I would refer, Mr. Speaker, to my intervention of October 26 when I spoke about a couple with an income of $3,528 in 1979-80. In view of the increase in the cost of petroleum and healing oil and in the cost of living, I still wonder how those people can make both ends meet even if they have the opportunity to live in low rental housing, because these units still cost between $200 and $250 a month. Mr. Speaker, I said that 1 would not take too much time, and I believe that Bill C-6 has some good points, but it completely ignores a whole category of people who will have to apply for social welfare to make both ends meet.

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