The concept of superpriority, in terms of making sure that it is put in the proper order, is something that I have been interested in since I first arrived in the House. I am very interested in seeing the bill go to committee so that the committee can do the proper work and send its recommendations back to the House. Unfortunately, over time, we have seen a shift in the way that corporations treat their employees, quite frankly. We have seen a number of corporations, and some even within my riding, declare bankruptcy and, as a result, give themselves the ability to neglect payments to pensioners in particular.
Shortly after I was elected, I was very impressed by a group from the Invista plant in Kingston, which manufactures nylon. A group of not employees, but managers came forward. They would not have been affected by any legislation such as this. The group was led by Peter Strauss and some other individuals from my riding. They came forward, as previous management of this plant, on behalf of the employees who would be affected when decisions were made to allow companies to declare bankruptcy in these positions. I was very moved by that, because it showed that there was deep concern.
We have to reflect on the fact that there are many pensioners out there who paid into pensions throughout their working careers and are, quite frankly, relying on this income at the end of their careers for their retirement. In many cases, individuals are limited with respect to how much they can contribute to RRSPs if they are expecting to receive a pension that they are paying into. It should certainly not be the fault of individual employees, pensioners, if a company declares bankruptcy once they have retired.
I was really concerned a few years ago after seeing some corporations declare bankruptcy. I think of Sears in particular, and when it declared bankruptcy. Prior to declaring bankruptcy, it started to move assets into other companies. For example, it moved buildings and land into other companies so that it could shield those assets from the bankruptcy and insolvency operations that would take place once the company put itself in that position. I can see the frustration that some individuals would have around circumstances like that, and I know that they would be extremely upset to discover that this type of activity had been happening. However, the reality is that this is the model allowed for these corporations.
I can appreciate the fact that if we set the environment for corporations to act in a certain way, they are going to act in that way. If we make it allowable for corporations to move assets around and basically skirt some responsibilities in the interests of profit, because there are very few human elements to the capitalist system, the default reaction unfortunately is that the very nature of it is going to encourage companies to do that. Therefore, it falls upon government, quite frankly: the policy-makers and lawmakers, to set the proper environment to ensure that individuals are properly taken care of in circumstances like this.
Having said all this, I was part of a small working group a number of years ago. We were looking at and studying this issue, and I know that there are some concerns out there. I do not, at this point, necessarily agree with those concerns, but I know that there are some around what this does to an individual corporation's ability to access financing from a bank. There are some out there that I recall having told us that it would make it more difficult to leverage capital, so I realize that there are various elements to this and variables that need to be considered. I really hope that at the end of the day we can focus on making sure that the individuals who have in good faith relied on institutions, in this case their employers, to manage their retirement funds have it done in a proper way.
I look forward to this bill continuing to go through the debate process. I am personally in support of seeing this go to committee so that the proper study can be done. I look forward to hearing about that as it comes back from committee, so that I can then inform myself to make a decision on how to vote for this. At this point, it is certainly something that I am very interested in, given the comments that I have made to this point.