moved for leave to introduce Bill C-351, an act to provide for the limitation of interest rates, of the application of interest and of fees in relation to credit card accounts.
Madam Speaker, in presenting this bill today, I would like to pay homage to the member for Simcoe North who is the father of this bill and its author. He is presently a parliamentary secretary and therefore is prevented from pursuing the aim of this bill, which has a threefold purpose.
First, it will limit the amount of interest that financial institutions and retailers can charge on outstanding credit card balances.
Second, it sets out a method for calculating interest charges based on the Bank of Canada rate of the previous month.
Third, it provides a mandatory grace period for partial payments on all types of credit cards.
Today banks in Canada continue to set record profits. Interest rates are the lowest in 30 years with the prime rate at 4.75 per cent, yet Canadian consumers are paying exorbitant rates ranging up to 20 per cent on some retail cards.
On behalf of the public, the government has a responsibility to regulate when unfair actions damage the public's interest. In addressing interest rates on credit and charge cards, this bill asks the government to intervene on behalf of the public interest.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)