Thursday, November 25, 2010

Comments in Ottawa Sun re treatment of Canadian Nortel pensioners

Comments by Anne Clark-Stewart on an article in the Ottawa Sun regarding the Nortel Canadian Pensioners and the government apathy to our situation.

Well said Anne!

Response to Ottawa Sun Article, Nov 23rd
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Re: Nov 23/10 Pension deal: caviar for them, crusts for you:

Crusts you say. Nortel pensioners will be lucky to get crumbs from the bankruptcy proceeds of this interminable and most complex bankruptcy in Canadian history. The term “upper crust” was derived from the gentry being given the clean top crusts of bread and the servants being given the base of the loaf that was often overcooked, black and dirty from the ovens.

Large numbers of Nortel retirees, terminated and disabled employees have been working for nearly two years now making presentations to politicians of all parties and all levels of government and NOTHING has been done to address our dire situations. The stress of this uncertainty is creating havoc with our stress levels and our health.

We will be very lucky to get 60% of our pensions (please read deferred wages). Our taxes on these reduced pensions will help pay for the public service pension deficit. The disabled employees’ wage replacement benefit terminates at year-end, even though they paid premiums for what they thought was insurance, and have no support in sight for years as the Nortel assets are still not all sold. Where will the disabled end up? On welfare? On the streets? A burden to society and the Canadian taxpayer? Certainly not eating caviar.

We will all see our health and dental benefits and life insurance eliminated at the end of the year. How can we replace them when our pensions and/or LTD benefits are being cut so drastically?

How will the over 1200 widows with an average pension of $900 per month be able to pay rent or put food on the table? Most never worked outside the home as they raised their families while their spouses devoted many unpaid overtime hours to the development of some of the greatest technological advances in the history of telecommunications. And these are the crumbs they get.

Having spent the past two weeks in Industry Committee hearings on Bill C-501, MP John Rafferty’s private member’s bill to protect pension funds in bankruptcy, I am absolutely appalled at the arrogance of the banks, bondholders and insolvency firms who expound on what “may”, “could” or “possibly” happen to the economy if pension special payments or under-funding were protected under this new Bill. NO facts, NO studies, just suppositions. But then, they are the ‘suits’, the new “Upper Crust”, the caviar eaters. Marie Antoinette’s philosophy is alive and well in the halls of Corporate Canada and the Hill.

Anne Clark-Stewart

A Nortel pensioner

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