From the House – John Rafferty MP

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This week in Ottawa has been a busy one with some great progress on the issue of pensions. On Monday, I had the privilege of introducing my Private Members’ Bill C-501 (An Act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and other Acts – pension protection) for its first hour of debate in the House of Commons.

This was the start of a long process, but I am happy to get this bill moving forward. We have a starting point.  We have now heard some of the arguments that have been made in support of the bill and some against, and we can prepare for further debate in the coming weeks.

I was very encouraged by the positive signals that have been sent by the other parties, and am optimistic that the bill can be moved forward quickly.  We’ve already heard Members’ from the other opposition parties state their broad support for C-501 in Finance Committee meetings, and again on Monday in the House. We’ve already succeeded in moving the bill forward by a full two weeks. If the other parties are truly supportive of the bill in broad strokes, then I am certain that we will be able to move it ahead even further.

I introduced C-501 in response to concerns expressed by local AbitibiBowater workers at several town hall meetings that I hosted throughout in late 2009.  As it is written, this bill would secure the pension plan at AbitibiBowater and by moving such plans to front of the line of creditors in restructuring and bankruptcy proceedings. I’m bringing this forward as a direct response to the concerns I’ve heard from many constituents throughout the riding, and I will continue to push for its passage on their behalf.”

This bill has drawn much attention in Ottawa because of the uncertainty faced by active and retired Nortel and AbitibiBowater workers, and the New Democratic Party’s recently launched national campaign for retirement security.  As part of their national campaign, the NDP is pushing this bill. I am also urging all members of the public to share their personal stories on the subject of retirement income security at our retirement website. You can find it at http://www.ndp.ca/retirement.

Have a great week.

John Rafferty, MP.

www.johnrafferty.ndp.ca

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