Tuesday, September 28, 2010

John Tyson Letter re Nortel Canadian Pensioners' plight

John Tyson has written a number of letters regarding the shameful treatment of Nortel Canadian pensioners. This latest letter was published in the Ottawa Citizen on Monday Sept 27th.

Some cared, but not enough to help Nortel pensioners

The Ottawa Citizen September 27, 2010

John F. Tyson writes that it will take special intervention to help Nortel pensioners.

Nineteen months have passed since Nortel filed for bankruptcy protection, the largest in Canadian history. Without provincial and federal government intervention before Sept. 30, the 20,000 Nortel pensioners and long-term disabled will see their pension wound up and forced into annuities, cut by more than 36 per cent, and the end of all health and life insurance benefits by year end.

Without government intervention, they will be abandoned as human sacrifices to the unconscionable harm inflicted by current bankruptcy laws on private sector employees. I am one of them.

During that time, it seems as if I have been pushing-on-a-rope, and in spite of everything tried, I have been unable to find the spark that would ignite the fire within provincial and federal politicians.

The unanswered question is always the same -- why not? Perhaps it's because the intended audience cannot comprehend "justice-in-bankruptcy" when, as public sector employees, bankruptcy is unconceivable, and their pensions and benefits are securefor life. With no champion in sight, it is all to no avail.

The Nortel Retirees and former employees Protection Canada (NRPC) have held three rallies at Queen's Park and Parliament Hill; presented two petitions (18,000 signatures); written thousands of letters; produced full-page ads, and held extensive meetings with provincial and federal cabinet ministers and their bureaucrats. Again it was all to no avail.

Without political power or leverage, this private sector group exists on $20 member donations and all-volunteer commitment. What chance do they have when facing the power of corporate lobbyists, vulture foreign bondholders and the inertia of political hypocrisy?

With only faint hope, all they have left is the court of public opinion. All they have is a tired and desperate voice.

Aristotle described magnanimity as "the crowning virtue." I implore Premier Dalton McGuinty and Prime Minister Stephen Harper to lead elected members of the Ontario legislature and the Canadian Parliament in non-partisan magnanimous gestures of political will, compassion and justice.

Without intervention, the obituary is predetermined. No longer newsworthy, the epitaph will read: "Some cared, but not enough."

John F. Tyson, Ottawa

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

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