Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tories kill NDP pension bill compromise

The following information was presented on John Rafferty's web site. Looks like Bill C501 is running into hard opposition from the Tories who seem to be puppets for the banks and bondholders.

Tories Kill NDP Efforts To Reach Compromise On Pensions
Wed 2 Feb 2011

Motion could have protected banks, secured pensions during bankruptcy proceedings

OTTAWA – Today, Conservative MPs refused to grant their consent to a New Democrat motion in the House of Commons that would have allowed a compromise deal to be reached on Bill C-501, to secure pensions and severance pay for millions of Canadian workers when their employers entered restructuring or bankruptcy proceedings. It would also have shielded banks from any risk associated with the proposed change.

“The majority of Conservative MPs voted against C-501 at Second Reading because they said putting pension deficits at the top of the creditors list would have posed too great a risk to our banks and primary lenders,” said John Rafferty (Thunder Bay – Rainy River) the New Democrat MP who tabled the bill.

“The motion I tabled in the House today would have allowed the Industry Committee to consider a compromise amendment to the bill that would have eliminated the risks to banks and secured creditors entirely while ensuring that pensions and severance pay of millions of workers was more secure in bankruptcy proceedings. Sadly, the Conservatives would not consent to the motion and thus rejected the very idea of reaching a compromise on the matter.”

When asked who was behind the Conservative decision to defeat the motion Rafferty said he had a pretty good idea. “In a Westminster system of parliament such as ours it is the House Leaders in the individual party caucuses that are responsible for giving directions to their MPs to support or oppose such motions,” Rafferty noted. “As the Conservative House Leader, John Baird (Ottawa West - Nepean) had to have been the one who gave the orders to Conservative MPs in the House to oppose this motion.”

Rafferty said the Conservatives’ determination to defeat what was a fairly benign motion defied basic common sense. “It’s hard to imagine Stephen Harper’s Conservatives opposing a motion to allow a compromise on a bill to help millions of Canadians – but they did just that,” he said. “Mr. Baird in particular should have gone out of his way to encourage negotiation and a compromise on this issue given what transpired at Nortel. Instead, he basically vetoed the idea of reaching a compromise.”

Despite the setback, Rafferty said he will continue to lobby hard to get C-501 passed at Third Reading in the House of Commons and into the Senate before the summer.

“There is a strong moral case that the pensions and severance pay of workers should come before banks and large financial institutions during corporate restructuring and bankruptcy proceedings,” he said. “It passed one vote already, so MPs clearly see the importance and necessity of such reform.”

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