Summary of remarks - Murray Gold, senior partner, Koskie Minsky
Please find below a summary of remarks given by Murray Gold, senior partner at Koskie Minsky, at a recent meeting of the National Association of Federal Retirees this past June.
Mr. Gold highlights the seriousness of the actions of the New Brunswick Government on provincial retirees. It's shameful for our New Brunswick governments to be singled out this way and to think that this is true leadership. Most other jurisdictions have proceeded with changes but on a true go forward basis. Even a Cabinet minister in the Harper Government recognizes accrued benefits and contract law.
Will the Gallant government not recognize what they have inherited and do the honorable thing - honour our contract?
Read below the comments and also attached is the link to the Forum on Income Security – it is rather lengthy but provides perspectives from 4 panelists from various sectors http://www1.webcastcanada.ca/stream/live/ret0615eng-1.php
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FEDERAL RETIREES
PANEL ON RETIREMENT INCOME SECURITY (JUNE 25, 2015)
MURRAY GOLD, Solicitor at KOSKIE MINSKY LLP, Said:
“When you work and you contribute and your employer contributes in a defined benefit plan your told: you work, it’s accrued, it’s guaranteed, it’s protected, it’s vested, no one can take it away from you. Yes you are at risk, if the employer becomes bankrupt, just like every creditors is at risk in a case of bankruptcy, but in every other case, you are told it is guaranteed and by law that commitment is backed-up by a legal obligation on the employer to make sure that there is enough money to pay your pension, and that’s the way the system has been since I started practicing. Now, what is happening, is that people who have worked under that system, contributed every year, worked every year, got a pension statement every year, told every year what it is they are going to get, counted on that; that’s their predictable, decent, secure retirement; now they are being told, you know what, this is what we are doing with your promise, we are tearing it up, if we can pay that pension then we will, but it is no longer guaranteed, it is now a target, so we hope we can pay it, we think we can pay it, but you know what, the money is not there, we are not putting any more in, your pension is getting cut, and we see this happen to people at 72 years old, 75 years old people who have worked their entire lives with that commitment and you can look across the economy and I defy everyone in this room to do so: find me another commitment, another contractual legally binding commitment protected by a statute, protected by a regulatory regime; find me another promise of that sort that governments will turn around and say yes, you just can rip it up; employees get special treatment, retirees get special treatment, there is no other class of contract holder or debtor that is subject to that kind of retroactive ripping-up of commitments in this society and this economy, it is absolutely unique. We think that where government or employers can’t pay because there is genuine insolvency, not just talk of hardship, austerity, and things like that, which we all share in, but genuine insolvency, then the rule of insolvency should apply. Pain gets shared across everybody not just pensioners, not just members of pension plans but everybody, you let money to government, you are a bond holder you take a bit of the haircut, you are a pensioner, government owes you money you take a bit of a haircut, everybody shares; but the regime that we are seeing today started in New Brunswick and hope it will stop there, is that pain is not shared, pain is focused, it is focused on members of pension plans including retires. To me it is a scandal, it is absolutely unacceptable, it is the only example of this type in the country.
KEVIN SORENSON: Minister of State (Finance) responsible for pensions said in the House of Commons June 15, 2015 the following:
“Current pensioners and retires should be assured that it is not our intention to convert any pensions to target benefit plans without the explicit consent of that individual. A retired person’s plan would not be converted unless that individual expresses the desire to convert the pension or agreed to do so, consent has to be an individual consent” In NB there has been no consent at all.
Prière de trouver ci- bas un extrait des commentaires de Murray Gold, partenaire senior,chez Koskie Minsky, lors d' un recent forum national sur la Sécurité du Revenu. M. Gold fait état des injustices que les retraités au Nouveau-Brunswick doivent faire face. Il est honteux de voir le Nouveau - Brunswick pointé du doigt de telle facon et de meme croire que le Nouveau-Brunswick est un chef de fil dans le domaine de réforme de régimes de pensions. La majorite des autres provinces ont procedé avec des changements mais sans retro- activité . Meme un Ministre du gouvernement Harper reconnait des ententes contractuelle et des bénéfices acquis. Est- ce que le Gouvernement Gallant va un jour reconnaitre ce qu' il ont hérité, et faire ce qui s' impose- respecté nos contrats?
Voir ci- haut l' extrait en anglais ainsi que le lien Association nationale des retraités fédéraux. Le panel offre la perspective de 4 panelistes. http://www1.webcastcanada.ca/stream/live/ret0615eng-1.php