Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 6, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
46 -THE LETHBRIDGE November 6, 1974 Sears Sensational That's 'Sundeck'. Take our word for it! vvts 'f. Put a little CO orw nere the action is! Take a room and make something of it! 'Sundeck' goes where your imagination takes it. Where kids play. And parties happen. Outdoors too! The pile is 100% acrylic. Most spills wipe up in a jiffy. Resists wear and fad- ing too! 9 colors. 37R 010 100. Save on 9x12' size. Reg. Save on 40 sq. yd. Reg. sq. yd. sq. yd. Call our floor fashion consultant now. At Simpsons-Sears you wort? wi'h a professional right m your own home See samples, gel advce 'ree estimate a! no obligation 328-9231 Simpsons-Sears Ltd. Slore Hours Open Daily 9'30 am 10 5 30 p m Thursday and Friday 9 30 a m to 9.00 p m Centre Village Mall. Telephone 328-9231 Ottawa pushed into pensions for housewives By VICTOR MACKIE Herald Ottawa Bureau OTTAWA Housewives deserve to participate in the Canada Pension Plan. That is a position that more and more members of parliament are supporting. The government is under pressure to recognize that housewives are a deserving part of society making as great if not a greater contribution to this country's future, as the men who bring home the, bacon. The New Democratic Party has been carrying the torch for the housewives in this country. Max Bailsman, the NDP member for Waterloo Cambridge, Stanley Knowles veteran MP from Winnipeg and Grace Maclnnis, who was the NDP member for Vancouver Kingsway, before she retired from active politics last summer, have led the fight for the housewives. Again this session Saltsman has introduced a private members' bill to enable housewives to make contributions and collect benefits under the pension plan. But again it was out by the Liberal government. However this time instead of lining up a number of Liberal backbenchers to heap praise on the idea and keep talking until the time had expired, the government showed its concern over the increasing support for the idea by having no less a person than the parliamentary secretary to Health and Welfare Minister Marc Lalonde participate in the debate. She is Coline Campbell and was drafted to set out the government's position, something the cabinet has not done in the past when the issue was raised by way of a private member's bill. She explained the idea of bringing housewives under the umbrella of the Canada Pension Plan was mentioned at Ed- monton during the health ministers' conference last February. Since the idea has been assigned top priority among others. It is also under study by a sub-committee of the Canadian Pension Plan advisory committee. Consultation between such bodies and those involved in the status of women program has received attention in the press. The parliamentary secretary said she expected that reports will be forthcoming in the near future. It is apparent that the federal government is working on some plan to halt the rising clamour that housewives should get a break. Once again the NDP in the pension field has pushed the Liberals up the ladder of social progress. They do it one rung at a time. It is slow progress, but it is progress. Housewives work at home. They are the backbone of the family in 90 cases out of 100. They are ac- countants, doctors, nurses, helpmates, psychiatrists, painters, interior decorators, plumbers, gardeners, managers, organizers and what have you. You name it, they tackle it. As politicians are fond of saying from the public platform, behind every successful man there is a woman helping and en- couraging him along the way. Recently in the courts the issue of whether a farm wife should be able to lay legal claim to half the property, equipment and proceeds has been raised. The argument is made quite rightly that she does a fantastic amount of work on the farm and should share in the results of that work. They don't qualify Compared to their sisters who have a 9 to 5 job, they are greatly overworked and underpaid. The same applies to the housewife raising a family in the city. But the government, in its wisdom, has said that because they don't work at a type- writer or in a factory, they do not qualify for the Canada Pen- sion. Some housewives before taking on the onerous tasks of wife and mother, worked in industry. They should at least be per- mitted to continue their contributions to the Canada Pension Plan, to ensure them a half decent pension at retirement age. The private member's bill introduced by Saltsman recog- nizes the equal importance of work performed at home with the work performed in the factory or office. It provides housewives with the same pension opportunities. The plan as envisaged by Saltsman is voluntary and housewives are designated as self employed contributors paying the contribution of the employee as well as of the employer at the rate of their choice, up to the maximum. Admittedly there are faults to find in this proposal. What about the poor families who cannot afford to make a contri- bution on behalf of the housewife. That is a weakness in the Saltsman bill, but he does not say it is perfect. He says it is at least a start and would establish the principle that housewives deserve to contribute and collect. It could be expanded later. There are those in the government who protest that the Can- ada Pension Plan is a work-related pension. Women not in the labour force, or others not in the labour force, should have no claim on it, they say. They seek to bolster that argument by say- ing that such people must be barred to keep the plan actuarially sound. Surely they are not going to try and argue that the plan is ac- tuarially sound today. The plan shows little relationship between the contributions and the pensions. There may be some relationship between the contribution and the pension received, but those in certain age groups stand to benefit much more than those in lower age categories. For example anyone over 50 will receive outstanding benefits from the plan compared to younger people. The latter are ex- pected to contribute much more to the plan than they will ul- timately receive in pension payments. The plan is an income support program. It involves a con- siderable subsidy from one element of society to another. Recently Mr. Lalonde dealt with income redistribution in a speech entitled "Income question of community ethics." He spoke to the Empire Club of Canada in Toronto. He said that the public want to be assured that the system under which incomes are supported, or "guaranteed" for those who are unable to work or who are retired, and under which the in- comes of the lowest paid working families are supplemented, is bcth fair and equitable- Why then, asks Saltsman. are housewives, a most essential section of our society barred from the Canada Pension Plan? She doesn't work Who has ruled that because a woman works at a typewriter or in a factory, she is entitled to participate in the plan. A woman on the other hand who raises children, moulds future citizens in their most impressionable years and guides them during the first important steps they take towards manhood and womanhood, is ruled ineligible because "she does not work1" Under the regulations women who are solely housewives are outside the "regular work force." They have no claim upon the plan It is a typical bureaucratic decision. Ask the man who has lost his wife and has to pay a house- keeper to come in and do only a portion of the work his wife did daily what monetary value can be attached to a housewife. He will probably say it :s beyond assessing in mon- etary terms. Health Minister Lalonde has recognized there is an unfair- ness in this. He has made a number of proposals. They are far from adequate. They are typical Liberal compromises One proposal appears to involve the husband's pension being split so that each spouse receives an equal amount. This proposal is the sort of thing legal draftsmen come up with to satisfy their neat and orderly minds. It takes from the husband's pension to provide the wife with a pension. It is far from satisfactory in the view of NDP spokesmen fighting for the housewife.