Senate suspension motion showcases importance of health benefits: Hughes

Ottawa – If Senators facing suspension will still require health benefit coverage, that tells us a lot about the need for strong benefit packages in all our workplaces, says Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP, Carol Hughes.

Hughes rose in Question Period to remind the government that it isn’t just disgraced Senators facing suspensions that need help with incidental costs for health care.

“While people in Northern Ontario are struggling to receive health care and find family doctors, the Conservatives want to make sure that Mike Duffy does not lose his health care coverage from the Senate,” said Hughes.  “That is their priority!”

Although the preamble led to a more pointed question about Nigel Wright, Hughes feels the notion that a Senator will be in dire straits without health care benefits deserves some consideration as well.

“These are individuals who are certainly doing better than a lot of other Canadians,” said Hughes.  “If they can argue that they won’t be able to get by for a couple of years without health benefits, there are probably an awful lot of people saying ‘welcome to reality’ right now.”

Hughes says she can’t help but notice the double standard for Conservative politicians who seem unconcerned when entire pension plans collapse or support lock outs designed to claw back similar benefits, but move heaven and earth to ensure their own  are well taken care – even when they are disgraced and facing discipline.

Hughes says she couldn’t believe her ears upon hearing that the motion to suspend the Senators was being amended so they won’t lose their health benefits.

“It’s not that I don’t understand how these individuals need their benefits,” said Hughes. “It’s just that Conservatives don’t understand that almost everyone requires the same kind of help with all the extra costs associated with health care these days.”