Question Period: Are the Conservatives Raising the Retirement Age?

September 20th, 2012

Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON:

Mr. Speaker, it looks like the Conservatives are making a habit of attacking retirement security. Now it is the public sector pension plan that is in their sights, and just months after the Conservatives' reckless attacks on OAS. They are moving step by step to cut pensions and raise the retirement age for Canadians. People are justifiably worried and wonder whose pension the Conservatives are coming after next.

Is the government going to raise the age of retirement so that no one can collect a pension until age 67, yes or no?

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development:

Mr. Speaker, I would think that from her previous life the hon. member would know that no changes can be made to the Canada pension plan without the consent of the provinces. She should remember that.

When it comes to old age security, we are the ones who are trying to ensure that there is indeed an old age security program there to support seniors when they need it. We are working on the long-term viability of it and we will continue to do so for the sake of our seniors.

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC:

Mr. Speaker, the minister is refusing to give a clear answer to a simple question. It is funny. This feels like déjà vu, and there is nothing reassuring about that.

The Conservatives' plan for Canadians' pensions is simple. First, they slash old age security, and now they are threatening to make huge cuts to the public sector employee pension plan. What is next? Going after the pension funds of all Canadians? The NDP will not let them do that and the public will not sit back and take it.

Can the minister clearly tell us whether she plans on raising the age of retirement?

 

 

 

September 26th, 2012

Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON:

Mr. Speaker, once again the Conservatives have workers in their sights. The government wants to reform pensions and potentially create a two-tier workforce by forcing new hires to work longer than their colleagues. Besides forcing new workers into longer careers, this insidious decision could eventually lead to pay and benefits cuts.

Will the Conservatives come clean? Does the minister intend to raise the retirement age of Canada's public service to 67? Yes or no?

Tony Clement President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (Parry Sound—Muskoka

Mr. Speaker, the question is about bringing public sector pensions in line with the private sector, to ensure that the plans in the public sector are sustainable in the long term. That is our goal and now the NDP and the big union bosses do not like that. They like to complain about that. However, the fact of the matter is this is the standard in the private sector. We think it is being fair and reasonable to public sector employees while being accountable to the taxpayers of Canada.

 

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC:

Mr. Speaker, finally, we have the beginning of an answer, but it is still far from being enough. A lot of information is missing. Financial security at retirement is important to Canadians and we need more information.

First, Canadians were surprised that the government was increasing the age of eligibility for old age security, and now we learn that the Conservatives want to reform Canada's public service pension plan. Who is next on the ministers' list?

Can the government tell us when it will officially increase the retirement age for workers?

Tony Clement ,President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, with the 2012 economic action plan, there will be changes to the public service, but at the same time, we will have a system that is more sustainable over the long term. Yes, it is another challenge, but the NDP and their union buddies want the status quo. That is not in the best interests of Canadian taxpayers.

It is not for the benefit of taxpayers. We will be in favour of change.