Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Letter to Ottawa Citizen

Since I have written many times to the PM Canada, and haven't had any effect on him, the following is a letter I sent to the Ottawa Citizen. They may or may not publish it. If they do I hope it helps raise Canadian awareness to the inequities we retirees are facing.

Here is the body of the letter:

As Canada basks in the glory of the Olympics, and its image is broadcast worldwide as a friendly competitive nation with good people and amazing scenery, I wonder what those other nations would think if they knew about Canada’s poor treatment of seniors.

The Canadian pension plan falls short in comparison to other countries including the USA where the income taxes are half that of Canada, but the US Social Security payments are four times as much as the CPP.

In addition Canada’s antiquated pension laws do not provide any insurance for retirees who were promised a defined benefit only to find their dream evaporate when their companies enter Canadian bankruptcy protection. At least thirteen other major countries have thought this through, and have enacted laws that provide insurance of those defined benefits, but not Canada. Instead, Canada is on the list with countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, U.A.E, Malaysia, & Latvia who ignore pensioners’ rights in bankruptcy cases.

Even in that situation there would be some hope if pensioners could obtain priority status against the estate of the bankrupt company, to take back the funds missing from their pension trust fund before other creditors such as insured junk bond holders get their hands on the assets. Thirty four civilized countries do that, but not in Canada eh!

In fact Canada’s laws are so pro-business and anti-retiree that they let companies get away with neglecting to adequately fund the pension trusts, and only need to check it every 3 years. In good times maybe that’s OK but in bad economic times that is disastrous.

As a Nortel retiree I know this only too well. We are facing at least a 30% reduction in our pensions, maybe more, and we can’t seem to get anyone in the government to listen or help us. What happened to Canada that they could let this jewel of a company expire without raising a hand to help, and now are turning aside as many thousands of Nortel pensioners and ex-employees suffer at the hands of poor laws and inept government?

Olympic glory fades away, but the shameful treatment of Nortel and other pensioners will be on Canada’s conscience forever.

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