Madam Speaker, I thank the minister for introducing the bill. It is something we in the NDP have been awaiting for a long time and we welcome it. As the minister pointed out in his remarks yesterday, there are over 10,000 commercial bankruptcies a year in this country leaving many employees owed back wages, benefits, et cetera. The bill, I would hope, puts the interests of workers first in the event of a bankruptcy.
My question is a technical question which has two parts.
First, the total amount of back wages that the employee could draw from the new wage protection fund is $3,000. We find that figure low by the calculations that we have done of the bankruptcies that we know of. I would ask him how they arrived at that figure, and it is something we obviously will raise at committee.
The second part of the question, though, is that the government would seek to have those wages reimbursed by standing in line as a creditor when the trustee of the bankruptcy discharges the bankruptcy. In other words, it would try to get that money back from the bankruptcy but it would only try to get back $2,000. Why should the bankrupt company be allowed to get away with the other $1,000 margin that it is contemplating? Why do we not try to get all the money back that the government pays out to the affected employee?