Questioning the Minister: Why are Canadians Getting No Answer at "Service Canada"?

Ms. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP):  

    Mr. Speaker, seniors who built this country are being left out in the cold by the government. Half of all CPP-related calls to Service Canada are completely ignored. There is no one to help, not even an automated message. Seniors are looking to their government for the help they deserve, but all they find is a dead phone line.

    Why are Conservatives proposing more cuts after they have already failed to provide even basic services to seniors?

Hon. Diane Finley (Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, CPC):  

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has her facts wrong. We are consolidating and improving the service for seniors and indeed for all Canadians. We are working right now, and have been working for some time, with some very old, outdated systems, very cumbersome paper systems.

    That is why we are automating systems, to make the service faster, more effective and more efficient, so we can indeed help seniors and all Canadians get access to the services and benefits to which they are entitled.

Ms. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP):  

    Mr. Speaker, the facts are simply not in line with the government's answer. The Conservatives are going to cut services that are already broken. They refuse to lift seniors out of poverty, and now Service Canada will not even answer the phone. Our seniors deserve better from their government. Canadians are just learning about those service reduction problems, but the Conservatives have known about it all along.

     Will the government cancel the cuts to Service Canada, or just keep ignoring our seniors' calls for help? The phones are ringing.