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Letter to Brian MacDonald, MLA from Mike Flood, retiree

Dear Sir:

Re: PSSA changes

I read with some apprehension the changes to the Plan intended by the government, particularly the shift in responsibility for variances in investment market returns. It seems that whereas PSSA contributors had been assured during their working years that their contributions would be secured as deferred salary intact by government so as to provide a steady retirement income, the new changes have been introduced to members under the banner of “Shared Risk”.

This wording sounds like the sinister euphemisms used by governments to deflect attention from really bad news. (Like the slogan posted by another government over the entrance gate at Auschwitz “Work will set you free”.

Imagine their dismay when they found out what was inside. Imagine the dismay of PSSA retirees who see their pension security guaranteed by government at the time they joined and for the years of their contributions, when confronted now by the “Shared Risk will set you free” slogan - meaning effectively that government will be “off the risk” for any investment volatility - henceforth to be offloaded to plan members by unilateral government fait accompli.]

I recall a conversation with an experienced senior government colleague years ago who told me “Mike those pension contributions of ours? They're just putting it into general funds, not the pension fund, and they're building roads with our retirement contributions!” And I thought to myself those chickens will come home to roost sooner or later when government finds that there is a big hole in the pension fund, one that it can't repay. And that day has come. The solution: use the legislative authority that government always has available to it when it has to break promises – ie: pass laws that change the rules.

Not that the reputation of a government that acts in this cynical and arbitrary way will escape unscathed. Those chickens will come home to roost someday too... perhaps as soon as September 22, 2014.I hope that government will see fit instead to honour the contract is has had with its PSSA contributors and retirees. Likewise may we count on your vigorous support in the Legislature and in Caucus for honourable government treatment of PSSA members' pension rights?

Thank you for your kind attention to this concern.

Michael Flood