Oral Questions – The Budget

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, in defeating the deficit, the Prime Minister and his Minister of Finance had a choice. They could have gone after the dead money, the $600 billion now sloshing around in the bank accounts of corporations, a staggering 32% of our GDP, or go after the live retirees, retired federal civil servants, breaking faith with promises by doubling their health care premiums.

Would the Prime Minister tell us why he chose to go after live retirees instead of dead money?

Stephen Harper: Mr. Speaker, of course, we maintain tax rates for corporations. We expect them to pay their taxes and we go after them when they do not pay their taxes. However, the question that was asked here concerns the voluntary supplemental health benefits for retirees.

What we are saying is that we believe it is still a subject of discussion at a bargaining table. We have been very clear that we believe that when it is a voluntary plan like that, a Cadillac plan, retirees should pay their own fair share, which would be 50% of the plan. It would still make it one of the best plans one could get in this country.