I posed the following question Friday (Oct. 5th) in the House of Commons. Later the same day, the Harper government quietly relented in the face of bruising criticism that changes it recently made to Employment Insurance were punishing those who could least afford it.
Mr. Speaker, a rising unemployment rate and a higher deficit are not something to cheer about.
I would like to relate a Tim Hortons moment gone bad involving a man who helps keeps minor hockey alive in my riding.
Robert is age 63 and he has worked at a hockey rink for over 35 years.
He has collected Canada pension since he turned 60 and collects EI for the months the ice is off the rink.
Come January, Robert's Canada pension will be clawed back 50¢ on the dollar from his EI cheque.
Why is the government so set on punishing seniors?
Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development:
Mr. Speaker, the fact is we have done more to support seniors and make them financially better off than any other government in Canada.
Let us look at the things that we brought in that the NDP opposed: pension income splitting for seniors, the NDP opposed that; increasing the age tax credit for seniors, not once but twice, the NDP opposed that.
We also brought in the largest increase in 25 years to the guaranteed income supplement to help the poorest seniors.
As usual, the NDP opposed that too.