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S'enregistrer au Flux RSS Le Sénat du Canada

Post under ‘nortel’ tag

Letter to Senator Stephen Greene regarding LTD Nortel Employees

13 January 2022 at 17h34

Dear Stephen,
 

May I express my disappointment and sadness that your well-intentioned remarks before the conclusion of our hearings at the Banking and Commerce Committee, as well as, the following procedure in the Senate Chamber, have not produced, in one way or another, a sensible and fair solution to the problems of the Nortel disabled pensioners.

 May I remind you of the assurances you gave me that the conservative government was going to address the issue submitted in Bill S-216 in a matter of days. We were supposed to see an “imminent” solution that was more “appropriate” than the Bill presented before our committee.

 Christmas has passed and we are moving towards the third week of January and I am still longing to see the “appropriate” solution. There are families and individuals living in fear of losing everything they have, after losing their most precious asset: their health. I share their anguish and I plead with you and your colleagues, as well as our Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper to restore their faith in our system.

 Moreover, may I assure you again that I am prepared to study a legislative solution for their future at the first opportunity, but the Nortel employees cannot and should not be left behind.

 I hope you enjoyed a pleasant Christmas and I look forward to working with you in the best interest of all Canadians.

 Yours very truly,

The Honourable Céline Hervieux-Payette P.C.
Senator

Bill S-216 (Nortel): Open letter to the Prime Minister

10 December 2021 at 15h41

Dear Prime Minister,

How is it possible that in a country like Canada, your government could act so inhumanly and cynically towards disabled Nortel pensioners?

Yesterday, December 8, 2010, the Conservative Senators killed bill S-216 an Act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and ensure that a small portion of Nortel’s $6 billion in assets would go to disability pensions and essential medical services. I cannot bring myself to believe that you would give up on the 400 skilled workers who are already suffering severely from disease and deny them a Christmas filled with hope and peace.

I hoped until the last moment, that as a creditor of this shameful bankruptcy, you would demonstrate leadership and agree to allocate the modest sums needed to finance their pensions and medical care.

Despite receiving tremendous financial support through government programs, including those aimed at research and development, your government is now turning a blind eye to the people who gave their lives to this company.

Contrary to American authorities, your government has done nothing to demand accountability from business leaders like those of Nortel who are largely responsible for sinking this great Canadian company.

It appears that your desire for transparency and accountability is expressed randomly according to your interests. Yet litigation in the United States has led several rogue leaders in American prisons. Would your policy of “Law and order” be limited to ordinary people in our society?

And what about the indecency with which Nortel executives were paid $ 8 million bonuses on the eve of the company’s bankruptcy? Do your conservative moral values stop at the gates of high finance?

You have a few days to put the record straight and provide remedies that restore dignity to these workers and restore color to the maple leaf which has paled under your authority.

On behalf of the disabled workers of Nortel and that of Canadians of good will, I solemnly ask you to do justice to these families.

(the letter has also been published in french on cyberpresse.ca)

When the far right hears a weaker voice: How the Conservatives are letting down Canadians and derailing democracy

3 December 2021 at 15h59

by the Honourable Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette, C.P.
Deputy-Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce

Stephen Harper has decided to make a serious attempt to undermine Canadian democracy, and you can be sure that he won’t take any half measures.

I could talk about Bill C-42, which shows a complete disregard for our own sovereignty by giving the Americans information about Canadian travelers flying over—but not touching down in—the U.S. I could talk about his manoeuvring to remove positive discrimination from the public service, which would affect First Nations representation in the federal bureaucracy in particular. I could talk about how he contemptuously forces our judges to impose minimum sentences that prevent them from ruling on the facts of each case, a pale imitation of the costly U.S. system that is filling that country’s prisons and doing nothing to improve safety. And what about his plan to kill the firearms registry and put citizens at risk, or his scheming to discredit Statistics Canada and spread his own propaganda?

Since the list is long, I’ll restrict myself to the recent decision by Conservative senators to kill Bill S‑216 by refusing to hold a vote. This precedent-setting decision is an insult to our institutions. How can parliamentarians refuse to vote on legislation? It also shows the Conservatives’ total lack of respect for the 400 former Nortel employees who are disabled and now face the loss of their rights on December 31, 2010.

What happened? Following Nortel’s bankruptcy—caused mainly by administrators who were cooking the books—disabled employees found themselves without benefits even though they had paid contributions to Sun Life. In fact, the disability benefits were self-insured by Nortel. In response to this unfair situation and the difficulties it has caused the people concerned, my colleague, Liberal Senator Art Eggleton, tabled Bill S-216 on March 25, 2021 to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and ensure that a small portion of Nortel’s $6 billion in assets would go to disability pensions and essential medical services.

On November 25, Conservative senators decided that this bill posed a risk to the economy, a fallacious argument disputed by many experts. The Conservatives have decided which side they are on: they would rather help out big business than ordinary citizens, even when those citizens are disabled.

This decision can be seen as part of a broader objective: to turn public opinion against Canada’s Senate and impose an elected Senate, under the prime minister’s thumb. But the Senate has always been the voice of minorities, of the regions and of citizens who cannot be heard in the House of Commons. It has also been a defender of our Constitution. The Conservatives recently gained a majority in the Senate and have already managed to kill Bill C-311 on climate change, an historic moment that saw the Senate kill a bill passed by the House of Commons without even studying it. The goal: to incite the public to turn against the Senate.

The Liberals have condemned this move, and the end of Bill S-216 could be part of this same process to destabilize our institutions. Make no mistake, to reform or abolish the Senate would be to fall into the Conservatives’ trap, and they serve only their own interests and ideology. And in the end, 400 disabled former Nortel employees won’t carry much weight in a federal election.

 

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