With mere weeks to spare, Chatham-Kent-Essex MP Dave Van Kesteren’s bill to deny those convicted of killing their spouse or parents the right to collect government survivor’s benefits has received Royal Assent.
Van Kesteren was concerned that the bill wouldn’t receive Senate approval before the coming fall election, meaning the process would have to start all over again.
The legislation is officially titled Bill C591, An Act to Amend the Canada Pension Plan and Old Security Act, Pensions and Benefits. It unanimously passed third reading in Parliament several months ago.
In an interview with The Chatham Voice Van Kesteren said although everyone agrees with the intent of the Bill, getting it into law is still a challenge.
“Governments must spend the majority of their time dealing with the issues of their platforms,” he said. “Getting the time and resources together for other business can be a challenge.”
He said most Canadians would have a difficult time believing that someone who kills a family member could benefit financially from it but it was a loophole that existed.
“Anytime legislation is passed, it needs to be as clear as possible,” he said. “It’s not as easy as it seems. No one envisioned the scenario where someone would be financially benefitting from taking the life of another, but that’s where we are. Canadians certainly aren’t in favour of that and neither is the government. It needs to be changed.”