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Conservatives Block Meaningful Assistance for Canadian Pensioners

OTTAWA – Conservative Senators have effectively blocked proposed amendments to Bill C-51 (An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on January 27, 2009 and to implement other measures), amendments which would have given preferred creditor status to pensioners of companies that declare bankruptcy.


“This was a real opportunity to rise above partisanship, and instead the Conservatives have chosen to obstruct our efforts to help pensioners across Canada who have spent their lives paying into their pension plans, and have now seen their retirement savings disappear,” said Liberal Senator Pierrette Ringuette (New Brunswick).


Yesterday, Liberal Senators on the Senate Standing Committee on National Finance passed two amendments to C-51 which combined to amend Canada’s Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act in order to put pensioners on equal footing with other creditors in the event of bankruptcy proceedings.  Rather than debate the merits of the proposed amendments, Conservative Senators chose instead to rely on procedural games to have the amendments removed from the final Bill.


“Pensioners who are losing their savings don’t care about Senate procedure, they want to know that Parliamentarians are working on their behalf,” said Senator Ringuette.  “Unfortunately, we just don’t have time for another study on this issue, we need to act immediately.”


This is the second time in two weeks that Conservative Parliamentarians have blocked Liberal attempts to address pension issues.  Last week, Conservative Members of Parliament denied the necessary consent for a similar motion proposed in the House of Commons by Liberal MP Jean-Claude D’Amours (Madawaska-Restigouche).


“I’m disappointed in today’s ruling by the Speaker, but I can assure pensioners that I will not let this issue drop.  We will be introducing specific legislation on this issue before Christmas, and I hope that next time, the Conservatives work with us to pass these meaningful reforms, instead of needlessly blocking our efforts.”