Wednesday, June 2, 2010

BC Columnist supports Pension Protection

An article by Ronald McCraig,a the Victoria Times columnist, expresses the sentiments that we would all like to ss other journalists copy in the media.

Pension protection is long overdue

By Ronald McCaig, Times Colonist June 1, 2010

On May 26, Parliament voted to move forward a private member's bill that would give pension obligations a "secured" status when companies go bankrupt. Currently, pensions sit near the bottom of the list of creditors. This is why those who worked at Nortel and other bankrupt companies are having their pensions slashed even as junk bond holders and executives walk away with millions.

Bill C-501 would address this travesty. Arguably it would also reduce the incentive for "strategic" bankruptcies.

With two million Canadians in corporate pension plans, many underfunded, and companies failing every day, there are hundreds of thousands of Canadians who might benefit if this bill becomes law.

The Conservatives reneged on earlier promises to support this kind of reform, citing the potential for increased cost of corporate borrowing. They will do their best to see that C-501 dies before becoming law. Their position would be more credible if they presented an alternative solution, or explained why legislation that protects pensioners in other countries will not work in Canada. Indeed, of 53 countries in the OECD-World Bank group, 40 have found a way to protect pensions in bankruptcy. Canada along with Tunisia, Lithuania and a handful of others simply abandon their pensioners.

Bill C-501 stayed alive for now because the NDP and Bloc Québécois turned out in force to support it, as did many Liberals, and because a handful of Conservative MPs voted their conscience rather than the party line. Sadly none were from B.C.

Ronald McCaig

Port Alberni
© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

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