May 2012 Parliamentary Report
The Budget passed last month was an outline of government spending plans. The next several weeks will be spent debating the more specific provisions of a Budget Implementation Act. I have requested an opportunity to speak in support of this Bill.
The first hour of debate on Motion 312 proposing a Parliamentary study of Canada’s 400 year old definition of human being was held April 26, 2012. The motion closely follows the suggestion made by the late Justice Bertha Wilson in her 1988 Morgentaler decision over-turning Canada’s abortion law:
“The precise point in the development of the foetus at which the state’s interest in its protection becomes “compelling” I leave to the informed judgment of the legislature which is in a position to receive guidance on the subject from all the relevant disciplines. It seems to me, however, that it might fall somewhere in the second trimester.”
When Old Age Security was first introduced with an eligibility age of 65 years, the average life expectancy was approximately 69-71 years. Today the average life expectancy is approximately 81-83 years. This has increased the duration and cost of payouts substantially. It also means people remain healthier for longer.
When OAS was first introduced, there were 7 working age persons for each retiree. Today there are only 4 working persons for each retiree, and by the year 2030 it will be only 2 working age persons per retiree.
Also, OAS costs will increase from $35 billion annually today to approximately $108 billion annually by 2030 under current rules.
A responsible government cannot avoid a planned and prudent response to these realities, so the Government has tabled its solution, which will not be fully implemented until 2029. This gives Canadians a long time to plan.
Our Environment Committee has undertaken a brief study to provide preliminary guidance to the Minister of the Environment as he prepares to consult Canadians about a National Conservation Plan. I welcome your input on the goals and priorities the Minister should consider, and also suggestions about a desirable process to develop the plan.
Justice Committee recently approved a Bill to permit single-sport gambling. I abstained from that vote. We are now considering a Private Members Bill to repeal Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which makes hate language communicated by telecommunications a discriminatory offence. The central issue is whether or not freedom of expression should be limited solely by criminal penalties, with all of their safeguards, or also by civil proceedings with less rigorous standards.
My Over Fifties Expo was another great success. Thank you to all of the exhibitors, speakers, volunteers and staff who contributed to that success.
Keep posted for my upcoming MP Shredding Party and MP Passport Clinic. Also, please let me know of any veterans I can invite to my MP Veterans’ Luncheon in June.
Thank you for the honour of serving as Kitchener Centre Member of Parliament!