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Write a letter to your MLA

If you have a passion to send a message to your MLA, here are some suggested steps, and sample letter to help. As well, here is a Report - Global Survey of Accounting Assumptions for Defined Benefit Plan which is referred to in the sample letter.

1) Find your MLA and open up the email link - you will have to open a new tab/window, go to the coalition site, and click Contact MLA button top right of site.

2) Copy and paste the sample letters (3 choices) below into the body of the email.

3) Send.

Sample 1 :

Dear Minister/MLA ________,

We are writing to express great concern about proposed changes to the provincial pension plan. After several years of service to the province of New Brunswick we retired in good faith that our pension contracts would continue to be honoured. Over the years we paid increased contributions to help ensure current retirees received their benefits and also so that we could retire with the benefits of the lifetime, defined and indexed pension plan for which we contracted.
 
The cost of living increases are particularly important not only because of rising fuel and grocery prices etc. but also due to increased taxes. Our property taxes for this year are up about 40% over last year. This is the case despite the fact we live in a rural area with limited services. Also, it appears that the upcoming provincial budget will bring with it increases in personal income tax and the HST to name a few.
 
The need to make changes for the future stability of pensions is understood but to reach back and break the contract of those retirees who fulfilled their obligations and made their contributions is not right.
 
We urge you to do the right thing and honour the contract of current retirees as is.

Sample 2: 

I am sending this letter to you to voice my concern and apprehension regarding the proposed changes to my PSSA superannuation plan.  As you are aware the shared risk model is what is being proposed by the government.  Below are some concerns and thoughts I wish to express.

•        In each and every pre-retirement and financial planning session held by the Province of New Brunswick for employees the formula for how a pension was calculated, that the amount was guaranteed, and that it was indexed to the CPI to a maximum of 5% was clearly and unequivocally stated.  Each and every written communication shared these same common elements.
•        We now hear that the CPI index increase will be based upon fund performance, and that base benefits should not go down. This is very different than what was stated to me in over 35 years of service to this government.
•        Retirement date decisions and financial planning assumptions were based on the “good faith” messages communicated through government newsletters and workshops.  I cannot go back in time and make adjustments to my retirement date nor my retirement financial plan after I have made my decisions.  If these changes go through I have much uncertainty that I cannot adjust for or factor in at this date.
•        It is very difficult to accept “trust me” messages when the previously communicated promises have been broken.
•        Those currently employed are in a position to make changes to their employment if they do not like the direction that the pension plan is going. . .retirees do not have that same option.
•        To work for an organization for 35 years with certain expectation that upon retirement I would receive my deferred salary (which is basically what the pension is) and to have that up for discussion and change is disappointing and somewhat disillusioning.
•        I did not hire the actuaries to establish rates.  I did not set employee contribution percentages.  I paid my compulsory PSSA contribution on time every pay period.  If the contribution rates should have gone up, those were not my decisions to make. That was a government decision to make.  These same PSSA contributions affected the amount I was able to contribute to my own individual RRSP.
•        An agreement is an agreement.  Government knew what they were getting into when they entered into it.  Employees certainly understood what their end of the agreement entailed and required.
•        The discontinuation of the severance pay allowance was conducted on a go forward basis.  Fairness was displayed in that.  The changes proposed for the pension do not display this same value of fairness.

Like you, I am a committed New Brunswicker.  I am proud of my province, its people and my nation. I am aware that these are indeed very challenging days for all of us in many ways.  It is my hope that my government will continue to uphold admirable, praiseworthy and honourable approaches when dealing with our retired civil servants despite the many pressures they may face to make less than honourable decisions as a means to an end. 

Sample 3:

First I would like to apologize for living so long. In the words of Mr Alward we Pensioners are living too long so our Pensions are at risk.
 
I am writing to express my concern over the changes to the Pension Plan that we as  Civil Servants paid into faithfully for over 30 years. Both my husband and I have been retired for 3-5 years and are counting on our retirement to  sustain our retirement years. When we both entered the government and NB Power and throughout our careers we were required to pay into the retirement plan. We were told that it was in good hands and that our pension funds were guaranteed. To get the guarantee on those pensions our salaries were frozen year after year or had minimal increases. When the government wanted to cut corners it was the Civil Servants that took cuts. Do more with less. Even during the years when there were excess funds in the plan the government took payment holidays. They were quick to cite that "your pension is guaranteed" so the inference is that we (government) can do what we want with your money (and they did) as you will still get paid. Government felt that the pension fund was their private piggy bank for when new election promises were needed.
 
Now your government has decided that they no longer want to protect the Pensioners who paid all their money into the PSSA . Mr Alward and a $600/hr Toronto Lawyer have decided that A shared Risk Pension Plan is the best for all, yet we know nothing about this plan. All the discussions about this plan have been behind closed doors with Union Members. Not one member of the retired work force has been included and we are the one who will be greatly affected by these changes.  The fact that your government has mailed a letter to all retirees CANNOT be construed as consultation. It is dictation of a high handed government throwing its weight around.
 
Government has employed a high priced Toronto lawyer who seems to be talking as if she were the premier. Statements like "it is a done deal" further indicate that consultation is not being considered. Just "take it" (we can't even leave it). On the one hand the lawyer says that your benefits will not be decreased (only in the worst case scenario resembling conditions of the Great Depression) yet Minister Higgs states that millions of dollars are to be saved. Where do these dollar savings come from? Logically it has to come from the retirees which means out of our pocket and every other retiree. Explain this to the retirees or is there no other explanation. You wonder why people are questioning your honesty and openness. We don't believe you. You are not open and transparent and probably are not going to be around much longer.
 
The retirees made their retirement decisions based on the rules that were in place for them. Some may have taken early retirement or were forced out at 65 (at one time). These were deliberate planned actions. The government guarantees my pension amount (yes I will finally take that trip to Florida every other year). We have no representation in government, we are not able to influence anyone, most of us do not have the means or time to obtain other sources of revenue (where are those jobs you promised). We are done with government. A deal is a deal. You can't come back, in many cases years after people have retired, and change the whole structure for the retirees. How do you expect us to cope with that? That is heavy handed government. 
 
The lawyers says basically "one shoe fits all" so we have to apply changes to those working and those who are retired. That is just a stance taken by the government to maximize their rate of return for the scam they are trying to pull off. The government does it all the time in so many ways to "grandfather in" existing clients to exempt them from new changes being introduced. They could do so in this case but have chosen not to. We might not be in as bad a financial state if government reduced its patronage, reduced the size of government, privatized the NB Liquor Corp., did not bail out the companies who do not have a viable business case totalling in the millions. Look to within and you will find your savings. Oh, and by the way look at reducing your own gold plated pension.
 
The government is trying to get rid of its responsibility for the pension plan by creating a new entity to administer the plan. This must mean that the government is responsible for the current plan which guarantees the amounts based on a formula, with automatic indexing, spousal benefits, etc. So again, a deal is a deal. The government is supposed to have the taxpayer in mind, but also since they administer the pension plans, the beneficiaries of the plan. It looks very much to me that you are foregoing your responsibilities to the pensioners. Where is our guarantee? What is the point of having a guarantee if you can just ignore it? It is therefore not a guarantee but just another scam of government forced on the workers. I am starting to realize the truth in the adage of how you know when a politician is lying, his or her lips are moving. The Alward government has proven to be a promise breaker so many times. Is this to be your legacy?
 
Our Pension Plan fund is now in the Billions of Dollars AND SUSTAINABLE FOR ANOTHER 75 YEARS.  Premier Alward and your government are not saying what will happen to all that money.  Another issue is whether any of the MLA's and past MLA who have those Gold Plated Pensions will be part of the Shared Risk Plan. If not, why not.
 
Mr Lifford as my MLA I feel it is your duty to approach our Premier and inform him that we need more discussion on this issue, that it is not a done deal. We want input into the plan and details. We want our guarantees protected. We will remember at the polls Mr Lifford and will vote accordingly.  When you visit my home come Election Time I will remember. I will tell my dog to be on the look out for shady characters.
 
The one thing that your government is forgetting is that the Retired Employees are good citizens of the Province of New Brunswick, we reside here, pay our taxes, our children live here ( those that can get jobs in this Province). We bring a lot of economy into this province and our numbers are great when you include our children and extended families. We do have some influence particularly in locations that employ larger numbers of government employees, such as in your riding.
 
I have never asked anything of my MLA or government but I am asking you now to stand up and make a stance for what is right and fair to those that have served the province for many years.  At this point in my life I have to say I am very sorry that I have stayed and worked in this province and did not leave like so many of New Brunswickers. I feel those that left are in a much better place than those that stayed and worked for this province. I am not proud of our government at this point and I  have no faith in it.  I FEEL VERY BETRAYED BY YOU AND OUR PREMIER !!!!!!

Sample 4:

Dear Minister/MLA ________,

We are writing to express great concern about proposed changes to the provincial pension plan. After several years of service to the province of New Brunswick we retired in good faith that our pension contracts would continue to be honoured. Over the years we paid increased contributions to help ensure current retirees received their benefits and also so that we could retire with the benefits of the lifetime, defined and indexed pension plan for which we contracted.
 
The cost of living increases are particularly important not only because of rising fuel and grocery prices etc. but also due to increased taxes. Our property taxes for this year are up about 40% over last year. Also, it appears that the upcoming provincial budget will bring with it increases in personal income tax and the HST to name a few.
 
The need to make changes for the future stability of pensions is understood but to reach back and break the contract of those retirees who fulfilled their obligations and made their contributions is not right.
 
We urge you to do the right thing and honour the contract of current retirees as is. Over the years the governments of the day were warned by the Unionized workers if the funds continued to be handled by the government in the manner in which they doing this pension dooms day wan going to present itself to you.

The unions offered solutions to the problems and made demands on contract negations to take responsibility of their own pension plans. Each time the government assured the workers that we had the best plan going and that it is working trust us we know what we are doing.  Well this is 10 years later and our pensions are in trouble and it is the government's fault and you are still saying trust us we know what we are doing.

This is not how I do business you burn me once you don't get the chance to burn me again. The government must consult with the present retirees and the present day unions and come together with a solution that will

1. Honour the contracts of the present retirees

2. Create a fair and economically stable pension plan for the future and present employees.

This can only happen by having consultations with the pensioners representatives and the now present Government unionized employees and their reps.

Open and honest dialogue is the only way a proper solution is going to take place.