Question of Privilege – Pensions

Irene Mathyssen: Madam Speaker, I have a petition from a number of constituents who are calling on the government to end poverty among seniors.

Almost a year ago in the House I presented a motion calling on the government to improve guaranteed income supplement benefits so that seniors could be lifted out of poverty. Here we are a year later, and the government has done nothing but give us bogus pension plans and a threat to reduce the old age security–

The Deputy Speaker: I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member. The hon. Chief Government Whip is rising on a point of order.

Hon. Gordon O’Connor: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. People presenting petitions are not supposed to advocate for them and they are not supposed to comment on them. They are just supposed to read them.

The Deputy Speaker: Is the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands rising on the same point of order?

Elizabeth May: Yes, Madam Speaker. I just want to make sure I understand the rules clearly and what the hon. government whip has said.

I understand that we are not supposed to read petitions and that we are supposed to summarize them. I agree we are not supposed to make long speeches about them. I do not believe it is appropriate to read petitions.

The Deputy Speaker: I thank hon. members for their comments. Just to clarify, it is quite accurate that petitions should not be read verbatim. They should be summarized. The exercise is not to indicate either support or opposition, but simply to represent petitioners’ ideas.

I would ask the hon. member for London—Fanshawe to complete her petition so that others can speak.

Irene Mathyssen: Madam Speaker, I will summarize the wishes of the people of Canada.

The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to make the appropriate investments in guaranteed income supplement to lift every senior out of poverty.