OTTAWA – New Democrat Member of Parliament John Rafferty (Thunder Bay – Rainy River) stated that he is deeply troubled by the defeat of bill S-216, also known as the “Nortel Bill,” by the Conservative majority in the Canadian Senate. “S-216 was a well-thought out and much needed bill that would help the most vulnerable workers in our society retain their medical benefits when their employers enter bankruptcy,” commented Rafferty. “Only those 47 unelected and unaccountable conservative Senators know why the sick and vulnerable continue to rank behind banks and junk bond holders when a company’s assets are liquidated.”
Liberal Senator Art Eggleton tabled S-216 which would have elevated the status of disabled workers during bankruptcy proceedings and ensured that they received some or all of their benefits following the proceedings. Rafferty said he has gotten to know a large of number of former Nortel workers during his work on C-501, which would elevate the status of pensions during the same bankruptcy proceedings, and said he believes they deserve help with their situation.
“The Nortel case in particular has been extremely unjust,” Rafferty said. “Because of the flawed insolvency proceedings in the Nortel case many of these 400 sick and disabled workers had no say in their settlement which will terminate their medical benefits as of December 31, 2010. I have no doubt that the lives of some of the 400 sick and disabled workers will be significantly shortened in order to ensure that the banks and junk bond holders receive – literally – a few more cents each.”