The deputy leader of the New Democrats, Vancouver MP Libby Davies has joined former Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla [shudder] in calling for the elimination or reduction of the 10-year Canadian residency requirement for newcomers to qualify for old age pension benefits. This, apparently, is among the several motions Davies tabled in the House of Commons in June.
Had a motion of this nature passed, it would require the government to pay out federal pensions to new arrivals despite them contributing little, if anything, into the Canada pension system. And, apparently, this change could potentially grant recent immigrants access to the federal guaranteed income supplement.
Even Dhalla’s Liberal colleagues left her out on a limb when seniors’ critic Judy Sgro issued a news release saying her party wouldn’t support the bill. Dhalla’s bill was expected to have cost an estimated $300-million to $700-million annually.
Fortunately, Davies’ motion will be no more successful than was Dhalla’s effort, as it’ll never come up for a vote in the House of Commons.
This afternoon in an interview on Sun News Network, MP Wayne Marston (Hamilton East-Stoney Creek), the NDP’s critic for Seniors and Pensions, announced that Davies’s motion was submitted in error.
This is political mumbo-jumbo of the sort we’ve come to expect from NDP leaders. Of course Davies didn’t make an error. Libby Davies is a former House Leader of the New Democratic Party, a position she held for about eight years. She may not be every conservative’s ideal MP, but she would not make such a rookie mistake.
It is obvious to me that Davies knew exactly what she was about. In Nycole Turmel, her party has an ineffective rookie leader without an established base in the NDP caucus. And I believe Davies thought she could slip this one past the boss. Apparently, though, she stepped on Wayne Marston’s toes—he is, after all, the NDP’s critic for Seniors and Pensions and he’s, apparently, disavowed Davies’ latest boneheaded move. For him to characterize this as an error, though, is disingenuous.
Moves like this make Libby Davies a favourite of Conservatives. Let’s all hope she runs for leader of the NDP, and wins.