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A letter to MLA Stephen Horsman from Gary McKinley

Hello Stephen,

I am reaching out to you to honor commitments made by the Provincial Liberal Party to engage in meaningful discussion that will permanently restore the accrued benefits earned by Pensioners like myself under the previous PSSA legislation.

I can recall your visit to our neighborhood leading up to the last Provincial election. During our brief exchange I made it clear that your Progressive Conservative predecessor (Troy Lifford) made the exact same comments about transparency, fairness, trust and doing the right thing;  then Troy and the rest of the PC Party faithful followed their Leader’s direction and revoked the PSSA Legislation ramming through the SRP Legislation. Along the way they steamrollered over Pensioners rights and earned benefits and respect, disregarding calls for “meaningful” consultation that would recognize Pensioners Rights. 

While your party has had some discussion since the Election with members of Coalition NB, it is obvious the amendments offered will continue to jeopardize Pensioners accrued benefits; that is not acceptable and a needless, expensive Court challenge is at hand.

You know Stephen, it takes a long time to build “Trust” but it can disappear in a “New York minute”. You and your colleagues have an opportunity to restore the trust, respect and dignity that New Brunswickers should have for their elected officials. You have a chance to step up and say that Pensioners should not be treated this way. You have a chance to do the right thing. There is much to win but much more to lose.

As you are no doubt aware recent decisions of the United States Court of Appeal has recognized Pensioners Rights by ruling Pension cuts Unconstitutional.  In addition here are a couple of quotes that you are no doubt familiar with:

We need to ensure any changes to pensions allow us to maintain our obligations to retirees..." quote by Premier Brian Gallant which was posted on the Opposition's (Liberal party) web site in November, 2013.

“...EXISTING pensioners - any pension that is already accrued, and the benefits and contributions that exist when they retire, the government of the day must honor those commitments...”. Statement of Justin Trudeau‎

In reading the statements above, one would think government would honor its commitments to its former employees.

Employees earned, as part of their compensation, a fully indexed pension plan. It is the responsibility of government to fulfill this obligation, similar to any other financial obligations, such as, what’s due to bond holders and goods and services suppliers.

Pension Coalition NB was formed because the former government was proposing to retroactively reduce our pensions including eliminating the guaranteed cost of living increases that we worked and paid for over many years. The removal of this guarantee will lead to a reduction in real income. In addition Government opted out of their Responsibility as Guarantor and Governor of the Pension Plan; for me this was unnerving. Recent performance of the Fund indicates the NB Management Investment Corp is doing a pretty good job; the performance casts a shadow on the credibility of fear mongers!!

So I hope the next time we meet the conversation can be one of mutual respect created by a fresh initiative to reestablish the Trust, Confidence, Transparency and Integrity that is so sorely needed in our elected Municipal, Provincial and Parliamentary Representatives. Restore our accrued benefits and take back your responsibility to your employees, current and retired.

Thank you,

Gary McKinley