Friday, January 15, 2010

New opportunity to influence the Canadian government in terms of the BIA

A situation exists which presents Nortel Pensioners with a Canadian interest a great opportunity to be heard by Canadian federal politicians.

MP Guy Lauzon (C) wrote to his constituents:

"Our government will be holding a National Caucus meeting January 22. The object of this meeting is to give Members of Parliament and Senators an opportunity to have input into the upcoming Throne Speech and to also make suggestions for inclusion in the upcoming budget.

I am asking you for your ideas and suggestions as to how the government can lay the groundwork to continue Canada's progress in dealing with the current global recession and address the temporary deficit resulting from the stimulus funding.

Prime Minister Harper and our Cabinet Ministers are meeting with major stake holders across the country but they feel it is imperative to have input from each and every Canadian."

Here is another chance to have our voices heard on the subject of the bankruptcy Insolvency Act and it's impact on pensions. I urge all retirees impacted by Nortel Canada to send a letter to the prime minister, members of parliament, and senators. Some of the people in the NRPC have constructed a sample letter shown below which you may use as a strawman.

The Sample Letter:

I am a Nortel pensioner, writing on behalf of Nortel pensioners, survivors,severed and disabled employees. We are requesting that the government amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act allowing ex-employees in the above categories to receive priority over other unsecured creditors for payment of their claims.

It has been determined that the Nortel sales proceeds will be insufficient to pay for Nortel's employee benefit claims and that the cost to the Canadian governments will be in excess of $355M due to Nortel ex-employees needing to access the various social programs and paying less income taxes. When you add up the downloading by all companies in bankruptcy onto governments, the total is in the billions of dollars.

The market decline and credit default swaps,are creating undue stress on pensioners and long term disabled employees, while junk bondholders are able to use credit default swaps to pay for all of their loss from the bankruptcy filing. The junk bond owners may even double-dip to make profits from bankruptcies, first by collecting the insurance and then keeping the damaged bond and getting a higher cash settlement for it at the time of the corporation's liquidation. The bankruptcy process has changed, yet the bankruptcy laws in Canada have not adjusted. Other countries do protect pensions and other employee benefits in their bankruptcy laws, Australia moving to do so in 2005.

A study completed by Diane Urquhart(\
laims-NortelCase.pdf)concludes that the impact of preferred status for pension fund deficits on the cost of credit would be minimal.

I urge you to make this change to the BIA and help protect Canadian defined pensions for those who have contributed over many years and are suffering due to the negative aspect of the current Bankruptcy Insolvency Act which favors junk bond holders over pensioners.

Yours truly,
Your Name - Phone and address

You can find the MPs and Senators at the following websites:\

In addition the following people should also be contacted with your opinions:

Stephen Harper (Right Hon.),
Tony Clement, (Hon.),
Jim Flaherty, (Hon.),
Pierre Poilievre,
Diane Finley (Hon.),
Stockwell Day (Hon.),
Wayne Marston,
Judy Sgro (Hon.)
Senator Ringuette (Hon.),

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance (FINA)
James Rajotte, Chair
Massimo Pacetti, First Vice-Chair
Jean-Yves Laforest , Vice-Chair

FINA Members
Maxime Bernier (Hon.),
Robert Carrier, (Bloc Quebecois)
Bob Dechert,
Daryl Kramp,
John McKay (Hon.),
Ted Menzies,
Thomas J. Mulcair,

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