Over the last four years Parliament had several opportunities to do the right thing and begin work towards a solution to the financial security problems facing many pensioners of companies like Stelco and Sears. Unfortunately, the Liberals voted down any attempts to move towards a solution or ignored the calls of opposition parties outright.
There are many Stelco retirees in Flamborough-Glanbrook and throughout the city. There are couples who were severely impacted by the collapse of Sears after working there for 30 or 40 years. I raised this issue more than a year ago. So did local NDP MPs. Yet there has been no action by the Liberal government.
Through the SNC-Lavalin scandal, Canadians saw the power of parliamentary committees to shine the spotlight on critical issues.
That power is why, in November 2017, I called on the Liberals to allow a parliamentary committee to look into the modernization of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act and the Investment Canada Act.
It would compel stakeholders to publicly defend why these pieces of legislation shouldn’t be modernized — to ensure pensioners aren’t left out in the cold. Pensioners, steel workers, unions and academics all agree that the bankruptcy laws are out of date. All parties should work together through committees to make this happen.
The Liberals have had four years to act on increase pension protections and there’s been nothing.
That’s why, when it came to debating the 2019 Federal Budget, I rose to express my profound disappointment in the lack of action taken by the Liberals and reinforce how important it is that this issue be studied and remedied. You can watch my entire speech here.
I’ll continue to raise this issue because Trudeau photo-ops with steel industry executives isn’t a plan, a solution, or action.
We may not be able to make all stakeholders completely happy, but we can do much better for workers! Let’s get this issue on the front burner now — so there’s no further time wasted in placing a higher priority on pension obligations in support of workers and their families.