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Response from Min. Higgs via Pension Secretariat to Coalition letter April 2nd

(Note: in very recent media Min. Higgs stated the desire to improve communication with Retirees. Phyllis Prendergast of the Coalition received this today.)

Dear Ms. Prendergast,

Thank you for your e-mail below and your earlier email dated 02 April 2013. I want to advise that your comments are being acknowledged and noted.

Regards, Mark Gaudet Pension Secretariat

Cc: Higgs, Blaine Hon. (FIN)


(Original Letter from the Coalition April 2/13)

Subject: Broken Contracts

It is interesting that the Government as an employer is considering breaking its contract with thousands of seniors earning an average of $21,000 yearly who were once their employees.  Will the Government be breaking more contracts?

Take for instance the contracts the Government has with MRDC, Brunway and Dexters to operate and maintain the Fredericton to Moncton, Fredericton to Quebec border and St. Stephen to Sussex highways.  The Government website states the annual budget for these contracts is over $60 million per year. And it is interesting these multi year contracts contain clauses that give these contractors an annual inflation (CPI) adjustment.  These adjustments would undoubtedly go toward all their costs including wages and employees benefits.

This raises a few questions:

•       Should these contractors be concerned they will be next to have their contracts broken?

•       What other businesses are out there that may be next in line to see their contracts broken?

•       Will those doing business with the province of New Brunswick in the future, have to add a financial risk factor to their bids and what will this cost the taxpayer?

•       Would the Government not legislate their way out of the CPI adjustments of these contractors like they are doing to their former employees in order to be consistent?

•       Is it possible the Government would not legislate their way out of the CPI adjustments for these large multinational companies from Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia and the States yet would do so to New Brunswick seniors with a pension of an average $21,000 per year?

•       Why does the Government think it is all right to give CPI adjustments to large companies like SNC Lavelin that are taking their profits out of the province yet is comfortable taking it away from seniors who will be spending the bulk of their income in the province and helping to stimulate the economy?

•       What would happen if the Government approached the highway companies and said they were going to remove the CPI adjustment?  For sure the companies would either say no or they would be heavily compensated for their loss.  It is doubtful the patronizing spin used on the pensioners would carry much weight.

Pension Coalition NB