Madam Speaker, it is very encouraging to hear all parties in the House agree that this bill needs to go to committee. Over the last 10 years, there have been multiple attempts by multiple parties to address the issue of pension protection in Canada. We have seen countless Canadians impacted: They have not received their severance or have received pennies on the dollar.
Bill C-228 would do three things. First, it would allow the annual report on the solvency of funds to be tabled here in the House so that it is a matter of public record and we know which funds are in trouble. Second, it would provide a mechanism to transfer money into those funds without tax implications to top them up and restore them to solvency. That is really where we want to be. Third, in the case of bankruptcy, the bill would make pensions a priority, after source deductions and taxes and suppliers take back their goods, but before large creditors and unsecured creditors. That is where we have put the priority for pensioners to receive their due.
I thank the member for Manicouagan and the member for Elmwood—Transcona for the many discussions we have had on things we need to do to the bill to try to address concerns. I also thank the members who have spoken tonight: the member for Kingston and the Islands, members from the Bloc, my colleague from Hastings—Lennox and Addington and even the member for Whitby, who presented a petition in the House on pension protection. This just shows that the time is right for us to work together and get this right at committee.
One thing we are going to be working on and talking about at committee is cleaning up some of the clauses. There were a number of bills and each one of them had something in it that everybody did not like. When we were cleaning up some of the things we did not like in the previous bill, Bill C-405, a couple of clauses got left behind, so we got rid of them.
The insurance idea is something people want to talk about at committee. Some people like that idea and some people do not. The NDP also correctly raised the point that pensions are not the only consideration; severance pay is too. It is something people have not received when companies are in bad shape. That should go in, with the same priority as pensions. I agree with that.
In trying to make sure that we do not get the unintended consequences that the member for Kingston and the Islands was talking about, one thing of concern is whether or not businesses can get adequate credit. We have allowed a different coming-into-force time. The reporting and topping up of funds would be immediate, but we would give a number of years before the priority part of this bill comes into force. That would allow businesses time to get their house in order, and I would argue that if they cannot get their act together, they are a greater financial risk, so they should pay the associated consequences for that.
I am happy to say that there is support in the Senate. If the bill makes it out of committee and goes to the other place, there is support from multiple parties in the Senate, from Senators Plett, Yussuff and Dalphond. There is also huge stakeholder support across the country. Letters have gone out everywhere from Mike Powell with the Canadian Federation of Pensioners, CARP and the number of other stakeholders that have come forward.
I am encouraged by what I have heard today. I know this is what Canadians want us to do. They want us to work together, have the discussions and work collaboratively. As the twice-named most collegial parliamentarian, it is my pleasure to work together across the aisles. This is important for seniors in our country and it is important for people who work their whole lives. We can do something great in this moment, so I encourage all members of the House to support Bill C-228 and send it to committee. Let us work together and get this done for Canadians.