Nathan asks a question about pensions
May 18th, 2012 - 3:41pm
Mr. Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley, NDP): Mr. Speaker, for months now Conservatives have refused to come clean about their plans to cut old age security. The finance minister claimed that the only projections he has seen have come from the media. Now we learn that the finance minister has been sitting on a report about the future costs of OAS for nearly five years, but refuses to share it with Canadians. Two elections, four budgets, one big cover-up. Why are Canadians only now learning the truth?
Hon. Peter Van Loan (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, CPC): Mr. Speaker, of course, that report was never completed because at the time we were entering an economic downturn and the focus of our government was on the economic stimulus, our economic action plan. That focus worked because we produced 750,000 net new jobs since the economic downturn. That was our focus for Canadians: ensuring jobs, growth and economic prosperity in the short and medium term. We are now turning our focus to ensuring income security for the long term. That is why we are making changes to make old age security sustainable.
Mr. Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley, NDP): Mr. Speaker, six years ago when the Prime Minister was out on the campaign trail, he promised Canadians he would not cut OAS. Back then he said, “fully preserve old age security and all projected future increases”. Now we learn the truth. Conservatives were always planning to cut OAS as far back as 2007, yet never once did they come clean with Canadians. Canadians pay faithfully into their pensions. Canadians paid for this report. Will the Conservatives stop burying their cuts in their Trojan Horse budget bill and stop burying this report?
Hon. Peter Van Loan (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, CPC): Mr. Speaker, our objective is to ensure that our old age security system is there for current generations and for future generations, because we want to act in the interests of our economic security for the long term. That is not what the leader of the NDP wants to do. The leader of the NDP believes in an economic theory that says for one Canadian to do better, another Canadian has to be worse off and for one region to succeed economically, another region has to be worse off. I can say that is not the experience of 145 years of Canadian history. Canadians know better. They know that when one part of Canada succeeds, when our economy grows, we all grow together. That is why the NDP approach is so dangerous to Canada's economic future.
Mr. Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it is not surprising that the Conservatives want to hide the facts from Canadians. Every known report on old age security indicates that the program is viable and that the retirement age does not have to be raised to 67. The Parliamentary Budget Officer, the OECD and Canadians all agree. Is the real reason why the Prime Minister does not want to release this report because it would confirm that the program is already viable?
Hon. Peter Van Loan (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, CPC): Mr. Speaker, as I said several times, we are trying to ensure the economic and income security of Canadians in both the short term and the long term. That is what we are doing with our changes to old age security. I find it very interesting that the NDP House leader is now backing off and will not even defend his own leader's comments about our resource sector development being a disease. He will not even defend his own leader's policy of pitting one region of Canada against another. I am not surprised. Already his party is abandoning the NDP leader.