Over the past two years, both my constituency office and my office in Ottawa have been bombarded with calls, letters, and emails expressing objection to Bill C-428, an Act to Amend the Old Age Security Act (Residency Requirement), introduced by then Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla. The Bill aimed to reduce the residency requirement from 10 years to three years in order for someone living in Canada to qualify for Old Age Security. Fortunately, Bill C-428 never made it further than the first reading stage and the Bill died on the order paper once the 2011 election was called.
However, I have recently learned that the misguided Bill may be growing a second life. I am truly disappointed to see that NDP Deputy Leader Libby Davies recently introduced a private member’s proposal that would revive this Bill – a proposal that would 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.
This proposal 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.
I want to be clear – both I and my colleagues in the Conservative Government are opposed to this costly and irresponsible Liberal-NDP scheme.
I would like to thank the Canadians, including the high number of Canadian immigrants, who took the time to write in and express their opposition to the Liberal-NDP proposal. I have heard your opinion loud and clear and, like all of you, I am completely opposed to this irresponsible and costly scheme.
This scheme would cost a billion dollars at a time when Canadians can least afford it. It is offensive to Canadians who work hard and pay their taxes, and goes against Canadians’ deeply ingrained sense of fairness and fiscal responsibility.
I would like to reassure everyone in Central Alberta that our Conservative Government will vigorously oppose this costly and irresponsible Liberal-NDP scheme.
Earl Dreeshen, MP
Red Deer Constituency