moved for leave to introduce Bill C-527, An Act to amend the Canada Pension Plan (pension and benefits).
Mr. Speaker, I am thrilled to be introducing a bill that would finally put a legal end to the potential for people who have been convicted of spousal homicide to derive a CPP survivor benefit from their heinous crimes.
I had assumed that the long-established principle in law that no one should be able to benefit from a crime would also be enshrined in the eligibility criteria for government benefit programs. Imagine my surprise when I received the following correspondence, which states, “I have a relative who killed his wife, served very little time for manslaughter, and is (and has been) collecting CPP survivor benefits for over 10 years. Since 1-2 women per week die at the hands of their partners, how many more men are collecting this? How is this legal?”
I researched the file to verify that this could really happen and I learned that there was no legal prohibition that prevented people who had been convicted of spousal homicide from collecting either the death benefit or the survivor pension. Clearly, that loophole must be closed.
My bill would do precisely that. It would amend the Canada pension plan to prohibit the payment of the survivor's pension, orphan's benefit or death benefit to a survivor or orphan of a deceased contributor if the survivor or orphan had been convicted of the murder or manslaughter of the deceased contributor.
The integrity of the Canada pension plan is enormously important to Canadians. I know I am not alone when I say that the very thought that someone convicted of spousal homicide could derive a monetary benefit from such a heinous crime is an issue of fundamental justice. I trust all members of the House will feel the same way and I look forward to the speedy passage of my bill.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)