Senior’s Poverty

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, in this important debate, I would be interested to know if the hon. member and her caucus have been considering the advantages of a nationwide guaranteed annual income or guaranteed livable income that would apply to all Canadians without a needs test.

Irene Mathyssen: Mr. Speaker, that is a thoughtful question. Of course, a guaranteed annual income is something that has come up over the decades quite consistently with New Democrats and, I suspect, with others. When one considers the advantages of making sure there is adequate income, the advantages are profound.

I go back to the first question with regard to ensuring the health and welfare of members of our community. People simply cannot manage. They cannot raise kids, look for work, or be contributors to the society and economy that are depending on them if they are constantly worried about income.

As I pointed out, the cost of poverty in this country is reckoned to be about $30 billion. We cannot afford that; we can only afford to look after people.