Mr. Speaker, one of the most alarming absences of leadership on the government’s side has been in response to my friend’s questions about the closure of an old processing facility in his riding that has employed people for two centuries. Yet, because the minister will not grant an exemption to that heritage property, it will be another example of a dozen or so jobs lost.
We are in a jobs crisis. We bring that to the floor of the House every day, my colleagues from Alberta, my colleagues from Ontario, on both a small and a large level, and the government is disconnected with how that affects families.
My friend is right. The premiums paid are both by people and by businesses. The major business groups have told us that in this slow economy right now, businesses will not hire people, or will freeze wages, as a result of this premium, and younger people will not see a benefit for decades.
Fred Vettese, the chief actuary of a firm called Morneau Shepell—I can say that name in the House; I cannot say the name of his co-author, the finance minister—has said there is no retirement crisis and that even this perceived CPP enhancement would help fewer than 5% of Canadians, because only 8% or so of the middle class need an enhancement. There is no retirement crisis.
If they are trying to do something for a very small subset of Canadians that would result in the unemployment of tens of thousands, that is the wrong decision and we have time to stop it.