Madam Speaker, in response to my colleague, who is a fellow motorcycle enthusiast, I take issue with the fact that my colleague's party voted against a number of measures that our government has put forward to address this issue.
The Conservative government is clearly committed to helping protect Canadian consumers especially with regard to financial products like credit cards. We have demonstrated that through the numerous landmark actions we have taken in recent years to protect consumers. Again, these are actions that the NDP voted against.
We believe Canadians should not need a magnifying glass and a dictionary to read their credit card statements or applications. We also believe that they should not have to be lawyers or economists to understand them.
That is why our Conservative government has forced greater clarity and more timely disclosure from credit card issuers when dealing with consumers. It has put into place actions such as the new landmark rules that ensure Canadian consumers now have fair and transparent information and rules for credit cards with new regulations.
I will cite some of those rules.
Summary boxes on contracts and applications will help improve disclosure to consumers by clearly stating key features such as interest rates and fees.
There are clearer implications of minimum payments by improving consumer awareness of the time it would take to fully repay loans if only the minimum payment is made each month.
Timely advanced disclosure of interest rate changes will protect consumers from sudden and poorly disclosed interest rate hikes.
There is a minimum 21 day grace period. All new purchases made within that period shall remain interest free if the consumer pays his or her balance in full by the due date.
There are lower interest costs with mandatory allocations of favoured consumer payments.
There is express consent for credit limit increases.
There are limits on debt collection practices.
There is the prohibition of over-the-limit fees by restricting fees caused by merchant holds placed on credit cards thereby protecting consumers from inadvertent fees for which they are not responsible nor aware of.
These are rules that the Conservative government worked on. Unfortunately, once again the NDP voted against them.
When Canadians make the choice to use a credit card they are not signing away all of their rights. Our new consumer-friendly rules will empower Canadians by making it easier for them to shop around for the credit card best suited to their needs without fearing that they might be taken advantage of later.
Indeed these new regulations were well received by Canadians and consumer groups. In the words of the Consumers Association of Canada, “All of the things that the finance minister has done are actually just what we asked for overall. I've got to congratulate him”.
It boggles my mind to understand why the member stands today to pretend he supports these measures when he and his party in fact voted against them.
However, our Conservative government knows there is always more it can do to protect consumers. We have already acted in that respect. Indeed we have recently announced measures to prohibit negative option billing and reduce cheque holding periods while providing timelier access to funds. Unfortunately, the NDP voted against those too.
Why will the member not do the right thing by supporting the consumer protection measures we have taken and forget this nonsense about being committed? He should be standing in the House and voting for these measures to protect consumers when we put them forward.