Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Canadian parliament comments on pensioners and LTD

The following is taken from the Hansard record of the debate in the Canadian House of Commons. It is clear that the conservative government are not willing to budge on providing relief to Nortel pensioners or LTD personnel. Twice a reference is made to the effect that retroactivity on these bill is not possible. This is your government at work...

Pensions
Hon. Ralph Goodale (Wascana, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the unelected, unaccountable, Conservative-dominated Senate killed the long-term disability pensions, and again the government laughs, of more than 400 Nortel employees. These people are suffering from Parkinson's Disease and similar disabilities. Without their pensions, they will be destitute just 28 days from today.
At a time when Conservatives have a lot of money for jets and jails, corporate tax giveaways and bloated ministerial offices, why can the government not help 408 innocent, hard-working but now disabled Canadians?

Hon. John Baird (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, if the Liberal Party would like to reform the Senate, I would encourage it to get behind this government's agenda.
We have legislation before Parliament with respect to elections of senators and with respect to the term limits going from 45 years to 8 years. We think that is incredibly important.
However, the issue involving Nortel pensioners and LTD recipients is obviously a very serious one. Regrettably, the reality is we cannot legally and constitutionally make laws that apply retroactively. I think the member opposite knows that.

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Wascana, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the minister is plainly wrong.
Since coming to office, the Conservatives have wasted a billion dollars in extra spending on partisan advertising, outside consultants and other excesses. The Prime Minister's personal political expenses are up by more than 30% in just the last two years. The political spending of the Minister of Justice is up by nearly 20%. The Minister of Transport, is up 100%. The chief government whip is up 235%. Yet disgraceful Conservative senators are hacking the pensions of the long-term disabled.

How can the Conservatives look themselves in the mirror?

Hon. John Baird (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear. If we want to look at the basket of political expenses by this government, let us look at the expenses in the offices of the ministers. The use of government aircraft, particularly the use of Challenger aircraft, travel and other associated expenses, hospitality and polling expenses are dramatically reduced under this government. The member opposite, I suspect, knows that.
We are following the issue incredibly closely with respect to the situation involving Nortel LTD recipients. The reality is we cannot make laws retroactive. If the member opposite believed in this, he had 13 years to change the Bankruptcy Act and failed to do so.

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Wascana, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, it is not just the disabled at Nortel. Two-thirds of Canadians do not have decent retirement savings at all. Under the current government, poverty for senior citizens has jumped 25%. Family household debt has skyrocketed. It is 50% higher than disposable incomes. The well-being of children is dropping.
Why does the government lavish $6 million in personal benefits on one Conservative senator, Senator Brazeau and his used Porsche, when it has nothing for pensions, family caregivers or better access to education?

Hon. John Baird (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party has made great noises about wanting to raise the decorum in the House and talk about issues that are relevant to Canadians.
For the member for Wascana, talking about what kind of automobile a parliamentarian drives is not really—

Seniors
Mr. Pablo Rodriguez (Honoré-Mercier, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, what the Conservatives are doing is disgusting. They are shamelessly wasting our money. Meanwhile, the poverty rate among seniors has increased by 25%. Has that become a priority for them? No, not at all. Worse still, they are changing the rules to make it even harder to access the guaranteed income supplement. This will force even more seniors into poverty.
I know they are very busy gallivanting around in taxis, eating canapés, building prisons and buying airplanes, but when they have finished all of that, will they finally find some time to look after our seniors?

Mr. Ed Komarnicki (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, we are certainly concerned with seniors and we have therefore taken a number of actions to be sure they have extra income in their pockets.
We have taken action specifically with respect to the guaranteed income supplement to be sure that they are entitled to receive that. We have increased the guaranteed income supplement twice.
We would ask the member and the Liberal Party to get behind us when we are taking initiatives that are helping our seniors in this difficult time.

Pensions
Mr. John Rafferty (Thunder Bay—Rainy River, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, Canadians are worried about the high cost of living and their retirement income. In northern Ontario the price of gas went up 10¢ last night. Home heating costs are skyrocketing, thanks to the government's HST scheme.
A poll of Canadian CEOs on my pension protection bill, Bill C-501, found that a majority believe the bill is fair and that Parliament should pass the bill.
Will the government respect the wishes of Canadian CEOs and pensioners and support Bill C-501 and protect six million Canadians?

Mr. Ted Menzies (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, we are protecting 34 million Canadians by reducing their taxes. That is what Canadians have asked us to do and we have delivered on that through our economic action plan.
We have created over 441,000 net new jobs since July 2009. That is what Canadians wanted. They wanted assurances that their government was listening to what they wanted. They wanted to ensure they had jobs so they could help support their families. That is what is important.

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4 comments:

  1. Crazy... I have no understanding of how the parties can put politics above the suffering of the people.

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  2. The following is taken from the Hansard record of the debate in the Canadian House of Commons. It is clear that the conservative government are not willing to budge on providing relief to Nortel pensioners or LTD personnel. Twice a reference is made to the effect that retroactivity on these bill is not possible. This is your government at work...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I wish they could have stuck to the point that LTDers are receiving no help whatsoever in this Nortel insolvency fiasco.

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  4. Neither are the Survivor groups, whom Anne Clarke-Stewart pretends to care about.

    ReplyDelete