Submitted by M.P. Jay Hill
Members of our Canadian Forces put their lives on the line for our country and our Conservative Government is proud to stand behind them and their families.
Like any worker in Canada, CF members, including reservists, are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, including maternity, parental, sickness and compassionate care benefits, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria. However, currently if our troops are deployed to serve our country, they risk losing the opportunity to draw the 35 weeks of parental benefits they are eligible to receive.
This week, our Conservative Government introduced Bill C-13 to extend the EI parental benefits eligibility window to support CF members and reservists who are ordered to return to duty while on parental leave or whose parental leave is deferred as a result of a military requirement.
The new measure will extend the period in which they are eligible by another 52 weeks and would ensure our military members have access to an important benefit available to all Canadian workers that assists parent-child bonding and the establishment of a foundation for subsequent growth, development and learning.
Canada has an obligation to ensure that our brave men and women in uniform have access to the programs and services they need. Extending the eligibility window for these benefits is the fair and right thing to do.
Given the value that Canadians place upon our soldiers, our veterans and their service and sacrifice, I was very pleased that a private member’s bill introduced by my caucus colleague, MP Gary Shellenberger, was also on the agenda this week in the House of Commons.
Mr. Shellenberger’s legislation proposes to place restrictions on the sale of insignia of military orders, decorations and medals of cultural significance outside of Canada.
Bill C-473 prohibits the transfer or sale of these important insignia to non-residents unless right of first refusal at fair market value has been offered to the Government of Canada, through the Canadian War Museum, the Canadian Museum of Civilization or the Department of Canadian Heritage. The law would not apply to the transfer of an insignia to a near relative of the owner or to an heir of the owner upon their death.
And on the subject of fairness, there is one more piece of legislation that our Government introduced this week in the House that I would like to bring to your attention.
Bill C-14, the Fairness at the Pumps Act, will ensure fairness when Canadians fill up at the gas pumps. It is estimated that each year, due to inaccurate measurement, Canadian consumers receive a full $20-million dollars LESS gas than what they pay for at the pumps.
This new legislation will require retailers to have the accuracy of their machines checked on a regular basis by independent inspectors. As well, the Act brings in court-imposed fines and a formal penalties system.
At a time when family budgets are still spread thin, our Government finds it completely unacceptable that consumers could be paying more than they should at the gas station and we are taking this concrete action to ensure businesses are accountable.