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View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
I don't need the floor anymore, Madam Chair. Thank you.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Yes, it just gives a grace period of three years for its coming into force. This will allow companies that might be in a difficult financial position to ready themselves, to bolster their balance sheets and to properly fund their pension fund plans in order to stay solvent.
My worry is that if we go ahead with the bill without any coming into force delay, you will have some companies that are on the verge of bankruptcy that will no longer be able to borrow money, because lenders of lower-grade debt will say that the risk is too high, given that the pension obligations would come before the loans. If that happens, what might occur is that the company would just go bankrupt now. Ironically, the pensioners would be in a worse position than at present.
If a company has an underfunded pension and it goes bankrupt because it can't secure lower-grade debt to stay a going concern, then not only would the workers all lose their jobs but there would be no time for the company to recover its financial position and bolster the pension. You could lose jobs and pensions if the change in this law is too abrupt.
Some of the witnesses agreed this was the best solution, including witnesses who supported the overall bill. This is just to have it coming into force in about three years, so that businesses can focus aggressively on bolstering their pension plans, perhaps buying an insurance product, a large-scale strategic insurance product that will back up the pension, thus reassuring lending markets that their loans are in safe hands.
I think this is a good amendment. It would make the bill more successful. It makes the bill stronger, not weaker, and it's good for pensioners. I encourage everyone to support it.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
On a point of order, Madam Chair, I just wanted to make sure you got my amendment. We submitted it about an hour ago, I think. Some of the other members didn't get it circulated to them, which might be a function of the lateness with which I sent it, but I want to make sure it's there and that you have it, so that when the appropriate clause arises it can be discussed.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Excellent, thanks so much.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Schaan, for your appearance here. Obviously, you're extremely knowledgeable about your file, so thank you for what you do.
I'm going to go through a bunch of the contentions in this bill, on both sides.
You deal, I'm sure, with corporate and industrial stakeholders. You must interact with industry to do your job properly. Is that a fair comment to make?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Where the hell are they? We haven't heard anything. I was expecting that the business community was going to be storming into this committee, warning us about the dangers of this bill, and we have heard nothing, frankly.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
I think it was the great Rabbi Hillel who said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?” We're told there are these people who are so worried about this bill, but they're not speaking up. I think we had one or two witnesses with concerns; the rest were in favour of it. My office made a point, in the interest of balance, to ask that the clerk invite the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Council. I understand they didn't even bother to accept our invitation. Presumably, they represent the employer. There was another organization, I think it's called FETCO, which is responsible for federally regulated employers. Did I miss it? Did we hear a peep from them? I don't think we did.
If all the plan sponsors are so worried about this bill, I don't know why they didn't come and say so. Right now, if we're relying on the evidence presented at the committee, the testimony was overwhelmingly in the other direction. I appreciate that you've come here with a lot of very intelligent insights into the statute, the bill and the technical consequences of passing it. Frankly, you're the only one doing that. I suppose that's a compliment. The industry has been asleep at the wheel.
On that point, the argument that some people have made in the past against this bill and this idea is that it would raise the cost of capital. Businesses would have a harder time raising loans if members knew they would be knocked down the bankruptcy liquidation food chain. I have to say that I find that to be a strength of the bill, because it would force CEOs in the present day to ensure their pension is properly funded to be able to go to the markets. If lenders were consistently telling the CFO and the CEO, “Well, we're not going to lend to you because we're worried that we're going to be behind a pension liability,” that would be a wonderful incentive for those executives to eliminate that liability, by ensuring they put enough funds into the pension entity.
What do you say to that?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Right, but I guess what I have a hard time believing is that it would be in the interest of management to throw away pension funds on extremely risky lottery-type investments. That would more likely reduce the overall value of the pension fund and make it harder still to raise money under this bill.
I think what it would actually do is force management to get the pensions in order now. If you're a CEO, and your lenders are all telling you, “Listen, the big obstacle to lending to you is that you don't properly fund your pension fund,” the first thing you're going to do is try to find a way to fund your pension plan, because it's in your interest or else you can't borrow. Then your shareholders are going to say, “Mr. CEO, why can't you borrow any money? Why won't anybody lend to you?” and then you'll have to say to them, “Well, it's because I didn't fund my pension plan and that comes first in a liquidation.”
That's the incentive I think this bill creates, and I think that's a positive—
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
That's right, but what you're really saying, Mr. Schaan, is that absent this bill, the business would invest in working capital instead of in the solvency of the pension fund.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm sorry, the 85% rule that exists in certain provinces, is that what you're referring to?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
I don't want them to have 15% of the pension fund as play money. That's what I'm trying to avoid.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
I know. I guess what I'm saying—and I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this—is that this bill would actually force them to fix it on the front end, because it would require that they get the money in place as soon as they go to bond markets. If you're doing a bond issuance and you're a CEO, all these extremely sophisticated analysts are going to tear apart your balance sheet, and they're going to say that, on the liabilities side, there's this pension thing, and they're only 84% or 85% funded in the pension thing, and they're getting away with it because they're in this province that allows it. As a bondholder, I would have to come behind that liability, so I'm going to make it known that I'm not bidding on these bonds because their pension is not properly funded. The CEO is then going to be in a present-day position where he has to get the pension in order if he wants to raise money and grow the company.
I think that's actually a positive market discipline to impose on CEOs who are promising pensions to workers and deferring their wages into those pension funds. It's not a bad thing that the CEO is put in that position; it's a good thing. That's the first point, I guess, that I would make.
The next point I would make is that you continue to raise the concern that if companies had to properly fund their pension funds before paying out other creditors in the case of a bankruptcy, they would be inclined to go bankrupt or fall into insolvency. What if we gave them three years for the coming into force of this bill, so that they could use that time to get their act together and replenish their pension funds, eliminate liabilities and present a positive balance sheet to markets when they raise money?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Is there no way that we could requisition other services?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay.
Thank you.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Testing, one, two, three, from the beautiful capital area riding of Carleton, where roughly 100,000 Canadian citizens are excited to have a chance to express themselves freely online, if they're still allowed.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Well, here we are today with the government censoring debate on a censorship bill, an incredible compounded attack on our freedoms as Canadians. What's at stake here is section 2(b) of the charter, freedom of expression, so really, what we're debating is 2(b) or not 2(b): that is the question. Will Canadians continue to have their section 2(b) rights to express themselves uninhibited by government bureaucracy?
Before us is a bill that would allow government bureaucrats to rig technological algorithms in order to favour certain kinds of pro-government content online while discouraging content that government does not want us to see, in some cases taking that content off the Internet altogether. Now, they tell us that this new power, which we have done just fine without for the last 20 years since the Internet blossomed and online communications and the existence of social media occurred, is necessary to protect Canadian content. But they can't tell us exactly what Canadian content is.
Apparently, for example, when the CBC plagiarizes a CNN story out of Washington and runs a full story, without even mentioning Canada, about what's happening in the United States, that would be considered Canadian content. My local community association in Canada puts out a newsletter informing a Canadian audience about what's happening in a Canadian community, produced by a Canadian author, and that would not be considered Canadian content. It therefore would be knocked down on the algorithmic food chain and pushed out of sight and out of mind. We don't—
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
I see we have a Liberal member trying to censor my content right now.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
I understood that the heritage committee was a place for promoting the arts, so I thought, what better thing to do than quote Shakespeare, one of the world's most famous artists.
It is interesting that members of the government side are now trying to censor what I do and don't say here in a parliamentary committee on a censorship bill. I don't know how many times we can go around this Orwellian tree. It looks like an awfully strange action for a government to shut down debate on a bill this important, giving a notice to the committee that it only has five hours to finish up the work and then send the bill back so that it can ram it into law so that the censorship can begin before Canada Day. That is really what the government's agenda is.
The reason I mention the issue of Canadian content, Mr. Chair, is that this really comes down to who decides. Who decides what is Canadian content? I haven't heard a single name of a CRTC official who's going to be on this decision desk, looking at content and saying, “Oh, yes, that qualifies. Well, there's a maple leaf in that one, so it's in. The other one only has a beaver and some maple syrup, so it's not quite Canadian enough. The third one, of course, might have a Canada goose in it, but that doesn't quite meet our criteria of 'Canadian'.” We know what Canadian content will be when the bureaucrats and the government officials have a chance to decide. It will be pro-government, liberal-leaning, boring, statist content that is approved of by the establishment crowd in general and the liberal glitterati in particular. That's what will be qualified as Canadian content.
Of course, the reason the government needs a bill like this is that if it just allowed people to choose what they wanted to watch with the clicks of their fingers, it knows that people would choose differently from what the government wants. They would choose to listen to dissenting voices, as they do. In fact, on my social media, we do reach millions of people, about four million people a month, but I'm not, probably, Canadian enough for the government officials. I suspect that the audiences I reach who consume the information I provide would be deprived of that point of view in favour of a more approved message, something that the CRTC would be confident in allowing them to hear.
When someone can't win the debate, what do they do? They shut down the debate and put themselves in charge of that debate. That's why I'm here today: to stand up against censorship and to fight back on behalf of the millions of Canadians who demand their right to free speech.
I also note that when the government claims there is support for this bill, all it does is quote lobbyists. It doesn't quote artists; it quotes lobbyists. What this bill would effectively do is favour those content producers who have the best lobbyists rather than those who have the best products. Whenever the government decides who is seen and heard, then those who have influence in the government become the deciders of what gets heard and what does not. Of course, the everyday man and woman who produce content in their own way will be disadvantaged because they don't have political influence. It will be those organizations quoted so often by this minister that have their voices heard because, of course, they have the influence in Ottawa. They have the money. They have the big broadcasting corporations funding them. They will have a megaphone that everyone else will lack.
This is about, basically, converting the power of the state into a louder megaphone for the favoured few at the expense of the voices of the very many. That's why I'm proud to fight against it. I am also proud that a Conservative government would repeal—
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
—every single word of this bill.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Right. Stay within the confines.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Right. That point of order and the earlier one are a good illustration that government doesn't want certain things said, so they shut down the voices that say them.
There are confines of what's allowed to be spoken in Canada. Anybody who goes outside those confines risks being silenced. We have here a vivid demonstration, where government members—
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
—are trying to silence dissenting voices.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
There definitely is an effort by the government here to silence voices that disagree with its agenda. Here they are shutting down debate and trying to—
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Here we go again.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Orwell said, Mr. Chair, that if freedom of speech means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. Obviously, government members on this committee do not want to hear what I have to say, but I still have the right to say it. Regulators do not want to hear what Canadians have to say. They still have the right to say it.
If we have to stand alone as Conservatives in this fight for freedom of expression, so we will do. We will stand for the right of people to say what they like and express themselves freely without interference and coercion by the state. That is why we're here with such contention today. It's why we have fought so hard on the floor of the House of Commons and why we have committed, very proudly, to be the only party that will repeal Bill C-10 and restore free speech online for all Canadians.
Numerous senior ministers, including the Prime Minister, have said they see COVID as an opportunity for them to expand the power and scope of the state—to make people like them more powerful. That is why they have attempted to take over large parts of the economy, massively increase government spending, limit freedom of choice for parents in how they raise their kids, and now censor what people say online.
If members of the government think we're going to sit by and allow that to happen, then they've ignored 800 years of parliamentary history, where commoners have routinely stood up to defend their freedom through the system of Parliament that we have inherited through so many generations.
I am not surprised to hear that the Liberals want the federal government to have more power and that federal officials should control people's speech. However, I am surprised to learn that the Bloc Québécois, which claims to want to separate itself from Canada, and therefore from the authority of the Canadian state, is supporting a bill giving federal officials the power to control the speech and words of Quebeckers. The Bloc Québécois should be called the centralizing Bloc, since it now wants to give the federal government in Ottawa the power to control what Quebeckers say. How is this consistent with the independence of the Quebec nation?
We, the Conservatives, are the only party standing up for the freedom of expression of Quebeckers. Apparently, we are the only party that understands that people's speech, people's words are not under federal or provincial jurisdiction, but under individual jurisdiction. Everyone has the freedom to express themselves without interference from the state. We believe that all Quebeckers should be able to decide what to say, when to say it and how to say it.
I am shocked that a sovereignist party would give the Canadian state the power to control the way Quebeckers express themselves. It is ironic. Most Quebeckers would be really surprised to hear that this party, supposedly the Bloc Québécois, is in favour of giving the federal government much more power on this issue.
We, the Conservatives, are proud to defend the autonomy of Quebeckers. Everyone is free to say what they want and to choose how they express themselves on the Internet and elsewhere. Although the Conservatives seem to be the only ones willing to protect these freedoms, I am proud that we do. At the same time, I must admit that it is disappointing and surprising that no other party is willing to do the same.
From what I can see, the Bloc Québécois and the Liberals are listening to the lobbyists, the officials and the politicians in Ottawa, who simply want to protect their interests by excluding people and controlling content. The Liberals and the Bloc are attacking Quebec artists. Those artists will have the opportunity to choose the only party that supports freedom of expression, the Conservative Party.
Such is the nature of the debate we are having. However, there is still time. The Bloc Québécois may still have the opportunity to see that Quebeckers do not want the federal government to decide for them, and to understand that everyone, including Quebeckers, must have the freedom to express themselves.
That's really the choice. All of the other parties want to give more power to bureaucrats, lobbyists and politicians, and one party wants to give power back to the people. That's the Conservative Party. We're standing up all by ourselves to defend the principle that people should be able to express themselves even if the government and the political establishment close to the government disagree. Quite frankly, I'm proud that we're taking this principled stand, that we are speaking our mind and defending the millions of Canadians who are going to be voiceless if this bill passes.
What we've seen from the other parties is a desire to massively increase the power of the state at the expense of the people. When the state becomes more powerful, the people become weaker and smaller. That, of course, is the goal, the purpose of this bill and so many other power grabs that we have witnessed over the last year.
Remember, when this pandemic began, the first thing the Prime Minister did was try to pass a law empowering him to raise any tax to any level for any reason, without even holding a vote, for two years. He wanted to have that power locked in until the year 2022, the ability to just raise any tax with an executive order. That has never been done in our parliamentary system. The basic principle of no taxation without representation means that the government can't tax what Parliament doesn't approve. He tried to take that power away and impose higher taxes on the Canadian people.
Instead, we fought back, and to the credit of the Canadian people who joined us in the backlash, he backed down. We hope that he will back down again before this censorship bill becomes law. As you all know, there has been a massive outcry against this bill. You've heard it. Your leader has heard it. Unfortunately, here's the problem: Instead of recognizing the opposition, this Prime Minister has been threatened by it. He said the last thing we need is more dissent and debate in this country, because then people won't agree with him. Therefore, he needs to pass a law to shut them down, silence their voices and prevent them from speaking up in the future. That is exactly what this bill does.
The bill needs to be repealed in its entirety, every single word of it. Not only that, it's interesting that my original suspicions about this bill were fulfilled. I said on the floor of the House of Commons last year, before the bill got much notice, that it would lead to Internet censorship. However, the government had put in a proposed section saying that user-generated content would be excluded, user-generated content being the material that everyday Canadians post online. They were able to use that as a fig leaf to cover up their true censorship intentions, but then the fig leaf dropped about a month and a half ago when the government, with the backing of other opposition parties, removed that one protection that was supposed to let everyday Canadians continue to post what they wanted online.
They just eliminated that altogether, even though the department's own charter analysis had shown that the bill relied on that protection in order to keep the bill constitutionally viable. They said, “Don't worry, this bill won't touch freedom of speech—it's got this one key exclusion.” Then they took that exclusion out, and here we are with a bill that will control online content and allow government to dictate what people see and say online.
We're going to continue to fight this bill right through all the stages in our efforts to defeat it. I think the Prime Minister is in a mad rush to get it through so that he can have it in place and locked in before the next election. Perhaps he thinks that some of the censorship elements in the bill will help him to win the election, will help suppress criticism of him while he's on the campaign trail so that nobody can expose the corruption of his government, the mismanagement of the pandemic and his horrendous failures at the early stages of the outbreak. All of these things can be suppressed by preventing what people say online.
Then we'll be stuck, of course, with the model of a very small group of liberals in the press gallery dictating the narrative and campaigning for the Prime Minister, without Canadians having the release valve to speak out and spread information and thoughts of their own online. That is, I think, the model that the Prime Minister feels most comfortable with: where you have 30 or 40 liberal press gallery types who go around spreading his message and attacking his enemies and no one is allowed to speak up to the contrary because there's a government regulation to prevent their voices being heard.
I think a lot of liberals have been bewildered by this new social media environment that they can't control. For so long, of course, they had such an iron grip on the discourse, when a small oligopoly of media enterprises could dominate political press coverage. In that environment, liberals thrive, because a small group of elites tells everyone else what to think, and those who dissent are left in the wilderness. They want to bring back that model—a model that is threatened by open free speech and the free expression and circulation of ideas.
You can't maintain a small oligopoly of media voices when everyday people are able to compete in a free market. Trudeau needs to abolish the free market of ideas and bring back a small group of media sycophants and give them the exclusive ability to dominate the discourse. Then, when he gets back to that position, no one will be able to contradict him or the overall party line.
Rest assured that we as Conservatives will fight back against this, and in the end, we will win. We will win this debate. We will overturn this bill. Whether we do it before the election or after, this bill will be defeated and freedom of speech will be restored.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
[Inaudible--Editor]
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, I have a point of order. My name was not read out for the roll call.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
I understood that I was subbed in.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Could I have another check to see if I've been subbed in?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
There could be an update.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
We've now heard all the arguments for and against the bill. What I need is some technical information. My first question is this: In the event that this bill were to pass, how would it be possible for a business to collateralize assets in order to get loans for expansion and new hiring?
Perhaps Mr. Powell would be the right person to address that technical question.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm not so much suggesting that they would fail. I'm just wondering about the legal question: How would you write a collateral agreement that says that the lender will lend money to the business, that the business will expand, and that, in the event of default, then the lender has recourse to the collateral? How would you write that, with this bill in place, which removes collateral primacy and replaces it with pension primacy?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Yes, that's a strong argument for the bill. Many businesses should be forced—in the present tense—to get their pensions in order so that they can raise money in the markets. You make a good point.
I don't want to be convinced anymore on anything. I just want an explanation. Is there anyone else who has technical insight on how that would work: a collateral agreement if this bill is in place? Is there anyone else who can jump in on that narrow question?
It looks like we don't have anyone on that point.
My next question is this: Do we need a transition period for the coming into force of this bill? If the bill just dropped like a brick today, it would reorder the priority of creditors in the event of an insolvency or a bankruptcy. It would do so midstream. Creditors that made loans under the existing regime would suddenly have new rules of the game halfway through it.
I see Laura Tamblyn Watts nodding.
Do you want to jump in on that question?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
You said three years. Is that for existing businesses, and then it would be immediate for new businesses?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay.
Does anyone else want to comment on the issue of transition? Okay.
I think that's a sensible suggestion, Ms. Tamblyn Watts. What about in cases where there are loan agreements that are 30 years long that have collateral arrangements built into them? Three years would then interrupt those contractual arrangements. How would you respond to that problem?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
What about not having three years and instead just saying that all new loans and liabilities that businesses with a defined benefit plan take on after this date will be prioritized behind the pension? That way, you wouldn't interrupt existing arrangements. Would that be an alternative?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay. I have 30 seconds left. Does anyone want to jump in on any of these technical matters before my time lapses?
All right. Thank you. That was very helpful.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Madam Chair, although there is a new study out from Harvard showing that too many birthdays is the leading cause of death, and I know you don't wish that upon me.
Mr. Thornton, you gave a fantastic presentation, very well reasoned. I'm going to challenge you on it, though, because I think we get to better answers when we have a good debate.
Your first point was that if we prioritize pensions over other liabilities, distressed companies could be forced more quickly into bankruptcy. Can that not be solved by simply having a transition period for the coming into force of this bill, during which time companies that are sub AAA and that have defined benefits could prepare themselves and repair their balance sheets in order to avoid that problem?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Right. I'm sorry but for those kinds of companies that are in a vulnerable position, could we not just have a transition period during which time they could get their balance sheet, including their pension viability, in order to comply with the bill and avoid bankruptcy?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Second, you said that the cost of capital will go up for companies that have defined benefit plans. This is actually, to me, a virtue of the bill, and let me tell you why.
I worry about the fact that CEOs have underfunded their pensions for a long time and have said that problem is for the next CEO or another CEO down the line. Then when the pension problem emerges, the CEO who caused it in the first place is long retired and on his yacht in the Caribbean while the workers are left holding the bag.
Doesn't this bill bring the real cost of underfunding a pension into the present by making it more expensive for companies that don't properly fund pensions to raise money?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Thornton, shouldn't that be the case? If I have a company and I'm not funding my pension plan and I'm leaving possible problems for a future management to solve, then shouldn't I take a whupping from the debt market? Shouldn't they say to me in the present, “Mr. Poilievre, you haven't funded your pension so we're not lending you money.” Wouldn't that create an incentive for me in the present to get my pension properly funded?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
I'll have to take a look at your proposal. I'm sorry and I don't mean to interrupt you, but we're very short on time.
Ms. Romanado, how much time do I have?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay, I'd like to give that to Mr. Généreux.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you. Anybody can answer this question.
In the case of a bankruptcy in which there's a pension shortfall, pensioners currently are on scale with a whole series of other creditors that stand to lose in the event of that bankruptcy. For example, in Ottawa we had the massive bankruptcy of Nortel. Not only were pensioners, whose pension fund had dropped in value, in trouble, but so were a lot of little contractors, tiny businesses that went over to that big old building just off Highway 417 and did plumbing work and electrical work and fixed the windows and did the painting and maintaining. They were all contractors who hadn't been paid. Those people as well were left holding the bag.
If this bill were to pass, would they move further down the pecking order for claims on payment from the liquidation of the bankrupt company's assets?
Mr. Yussuff, I see you putting your hand up.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you. I'm sorry, but we're just very short on time.
Right now, as I understand the rules, the issue is not that the company contribution to the pension is not being fulfilled; it's that the pension benefit, the defined benefit, is not being upheld. Under the law right now, unpaid wages, severances and pension contributions are at the front of the bus, but what is not is the guarantee that the pension will deliver the defined benefit it promised.
That's really what we're debating: It's whether a pension should be made actuarially sound to deliver the benefit to the worker that is promised. For that to move forward in the priority, then other things will have to move down by definition, or else we wouldn't be here. I'd be curious about some of the other very sympathetic people who are not bankers and who are obviously going to lose in the case of a bankruptcy as well.
I'll move on to my next question now, and someone can feel free to jump onto the previous one if they like.
If a company, let us say, wants to hire 200 people but needs to open a factory to do it, they go to get a loan because they don't have the money. If this bill we're debating is in place and the lender says, “Sure, we'll give you the loan, but we need collateral,” and the company says, “Well, we can't offer you any collateral because all the collateral is first and foremost committed under this law,” then the factory doesn't open.
How would you ensure that this bill will allow businesses to continue to offer collateral that would not be superseded by law?
Mr. Powell, would you comment?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Powell, that is actually a persuasive argument. That's why I supported the bill to come to committee, and it's one of the reasons I am inclined to support the bill, in general, because you make a great point.
I am curious, though. How does collateral work, really specifically? I come to you for a loan and I have a pension fund for my employees. You say you need collateral to lend me the money to open a factory, so I can hire more employees. I am going to say, “Well, I can't, because the law requires all my collateral to be committed to the pension.”
Tell me: How can we resolve that with this bill?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Listen, I think you make some good points. Some businesses say they are worried they won't be able to raise money in the market if they wrap up because their pensions are not properly funded. Well, my view is that if you're a CEO and you are not properly funding your pension, you should be getting a tongue-lashing from the market.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
I don't see why we can't break with that practice. It doesn't sound like a particularly sacrosanct practice. I don't see what harm is going to be done by making known who has been invited.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
It does matter, because we're trying to decide whether or not we're going to hear from them. That's what this motion really determines. If we go straight to clause-by-clause consideration, we're not going to hear from these people who are invited. We have to know who they are. If they're people who don't really have much to contribute to this debate, then that's one thing, but if you tell me that there are a bunch of people who are going to be intimately impacted by the proposal, then that changes how we vote. It is material. We need to know.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Sorry. I was wondering why my shoulder was getting so tired. It's because I forgot to put my hand down.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm sorry; I have a point of order.
I understood that we were going to go in camera to find out about the witnesses.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
To be clear, we're being asked to vote on whether or not we're going to hear witnesses whose identities we don't even know about.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
I propose a friendly amendment. I propose that we hear from the witnesses who are outstanding and then go to clause-by-clause consideration.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Are you saying I'm not friendly, Madam Chair?
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