Mr. Hec Clouthier
That wonderful gesture by the member opposite reminds me of something that George Bernard Shaw once said: “He thinks he knows everything, yet he knows nothing, which points clearly to a career in politics”.
Hopefully I will elucidate on the reasons I am speaking today in support of this wonderful legislation to amend the Canada pension plan.
Once again, for the benefit of members opposite, there are changes in the wind. I guess it was Heracleitus, the Greek philosopher. who said “Nothing in the world endures except change”.
We must amend some of this legislation to make it better, more propitious, more benevolent for the wonderful workers of this great country of Canada.
I have in front of me a few questions that have been asked of ordinary Canadians. I did not realize until tonight that some members opposite could not participate, would not participate or were prevented from participating in this debate. I am truly sorry for that.
We have the friendly giant across, the hon. member from Munchkinland. I see him sitting on the steps over there so he can see what is going on. Perhaps I will lend him my fedora because I am getting blinded here. He suffers from premature “defolication”.
I guess it was the hon. member for Calgary Southeast who say that business was suffering as a result of the CPP. I beg to differ. I am at variance with that. I come from the field of business. What hurt business in the last 10 to 20 years more than anything else was high interest rates. We now have the lowest interest rates in 35 years.
CPP has not prevented me from hiring anyone unless they were not good workers. Perhaps some of the members opposite might fill that bill. It was not the CPP that was stopping me from hiring people. It was the high interest rates, and now we have the lowest interest rates in 35 years and doing a remarkable job.
How do the proposed changes make the CPP more sustainable, affordable and fair for Canadians? Just the simple fact we have raised these premiums a bit, it is sustaining everything for our entire lifetime. Some members opposite could live to be 75 or 80 years of age, although some of them already look like they are octogenarians.
I will go on now to the affordability. Certainly it is affordable. We have six years before it gets up to the top premium price of 9.9%.
Is it fair? Certainly it is fair. I want some of the hon. members opposite who are under the age of 30, mere pups, to take advantage of the wonderful system we are putting in place. The hon. member for Elk Island will not be around that long to look after it, but some of the younger members under the age of 30, still in diapers, will be able to look after it.
Another question is will the CPP be there for me when I retire. I am having so much fun here I do not think I will ever retire. I will not have to take advantage of this. With the system we have put in place to look after the pension plan, it will be there for one and all when we retire, if we so choose to retire.
Here is the question the Reform Party is very interested in. It was asked at many committee meetings. Instead of making changes why don't you scrap the CPP? Can't better pensions be provided through RRSPs?
My answer is simply that Reform Party members have clearly indicated through their own actuaries that the RRSP program is more expensive than the CPP. Why? Not only would they be contributing to their own RRSPs. They also must pay for the benefits that have accrued through the CPP.
That in itself should be clear evidence to the members opposite.
Subtopic: Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act