KENORA -Updated- Kenora MP Greg Rickford learned yesterday that NDP Deputy Leader Libby Davies recently introduced a Private Member’s proposal, reviving former Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla’s Bill C-428. “This proposal could cost Canadian taxpayers a billion dollars and give expensive tax-payer funded benefits to those who may have never paid any taxes in Canada and do not deserve them,” stated Rickford.
“I want to be clear – I opposed this Bill in the last Parliament, and I will continue to oppose it on behalf of hardworking Canadians nation-wide,” said Rickford. This Bill should be nothing more than a bad memory.”
“Bill C-428 died on the Order Paper when the government was forced into an election in March of this year,” stated Rickford. “This means that unless a Liberal or NDP Member chose to sponsor the reintroduction of this Bill, it would have ceased to exist. Reducing eligibility requirements to only a few short years would mean that someone who only recently arrived in Canada would receive Old Age Security and a Guaranteed Income Supplement, just like someone who has worked hard for 10 years or more, paid taxes, and contributed to Canadian society”.
“If implemented this Bill could cost over $700 million, an irresponsible amount that would be paid by Canadian taxpayers,” continued Rickford. “I have heard my constituents’ opinion on this loud and clear, and like them, I am completely opposed to this reckless and costly scheme.”
The Conservative Government takes the position that in order to qualify for Old Age Security (OAS), there is a 10 year residency requirement after age 18. If this is met, eligible Canadians can start receiving benefits at age 65. The 10 year requirement period strikes an appropriate balance between an individual’s contribution to Canadian society and the economy and his or her access to a lifelong, publicly funded benefit.
“It is reasonable to expect that a person live in Canada for a minimum period of time before being granted the right to a lifelong public benefit,” concludes Rickford.
Update: The New Democrats have reported that they, “Believe in a fair pension policy for all Canadians, including immigrants, a policy which lifts Canada’s seniors out of poverty. Unfortunately, the Harper Conservatives continue to believe it is acceptable for some Canadian seniors to live in poverty.
“An increase in OAS/GIS benefits would help seniors, especially women, because of their low benefits from work-force participation-based pension plans. This also stimulates the economy, as it is targeted at low-income individuals.
“As for motion 141, this was submitted in error and Libby Davies (Vancouver East) is withdrawing it”.