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Meaningful dialogue is not possible without trust, (Past behavior often predicts future behavior) - Tony Easterbrook

During your upcoming Regional meetings, I hope that you will be reviewing the track record we’ve endured with the Alward government.  Its actions to date cannot be ignored, trivialized, skirted around or downplayed in the context of rationally assessing the level of trust and principled behavior we can realistically expect of it. 

Personally, I think that it has not shown the requisite good faith, so I am hopeful that our coalition team, should it feel likewise, will now, or very soon “call it a day” regarding further discussions with this government, on the basis that meaningful dialogue is not possible without trust. 

It truly is time, in my opinion to pursue other options, such as:

(a) stepping up efforts to correct the public record nationally on the government biased partially concealed description of NB home grown SRPP, and;

(b) pursuing every possible legal avenue open to us to preserve our vested benefits. 

I sincerely believe we must re-frame our approach so that henceforth, there will be little doubt in anyone’s mind, including the general public (ideally on a nation-wide scale), that we, not this government are in control, and will not submit, acquiesce, or continue dialogue as long as this government continues under the pretext of open communication and dialogue, while shocking and unethical, “Quinn vs. NB Minister of Finance”-side-stepping, precedent-setting-contract-breaking legislation continues to loom over us and overshadow any such future discussions. 

Specifically, how can any of us be rationally expected to trust a government who:

(1)   excludes us from the initial pension redesign process,

(2)   turns a blind eye to “Quinn vs. M. of Finance”, choosing instead to write legislation to void our current contract,

(3)   .....then amends legislation to provide “immunity” from being sued afterwards,

(4)   opens communications with us only after this spring’s political embarrassment of publicly aired retiree anger,

(5)   trots out the NB-home grown SRPP nationally in an ostensible "emphasize the positive, masquerade crucial elements of the negative" representation. (including its earlier claims that “participation would be "voluntary"), and,

(6)   continues in its intransigent stance of a “mandatory “one size fits all SSRP” future for us.

Let me state this first before continuing:  I do not downplay, and in fact very much appreciate the time, effort and personal sacrifices made by each and every one of our coalition team members for the work they’ve done and continue to do.  But let me be very candid;  As I step back and try to externalize our situation, as for example from the point of view of an unaffected 3rd party, here’s what I might conclude.

a) The NB government must clearly have a real “win-win”, non-opposed” pension “wonder plan” which surely will be adopted far and wide.  (this hypothetical 3rd party observer of course will be unaware of such pesky and trivial SRPP design details as: breach of contract, mandatory participation, no guarantee that base benefits can't be reduced, nor any guarantee that any pension reductions would eventually be reinstated.) and,

b) The NB government must really be driving and controlling this whole process, because apparently even NB Public service retirees are not nationally opposing it, and must be anticipating it with open arms!

Assuming the coalition team still feels as passionate about our cause now as from the inception of our coalition, I believe we need to more publicly demonstrate that unwavering conviction, not just within NB, but nationally (especially due to the increasing interest in Canada and beyond of SRPP) .  As I’ve stated in an earlier e-mail, we’d not only be doing ourselves justice, but might even indirectly help some of our fellow Canadian pensioners from falling victim to the same “optimistically framed, downside-underplayed” NB home grown SRPP, should they too subsequently find themselves under its hapless shroud or facsimile of it thereof.

As per my posted e-mail of September 6th, I hope, in fact I implore the coalition team to follow up very soon with major national newspapers, to expose SRPP’s downsides, and the government’s planned contract-breaking alternative to the “Quinn vs Minister of Finance” retiree victory.  Let’s show Canada that we are passionate about our objectives, in keeping with our coalition website’s clearly stated and conspicuous moving banner.

Let’s demonstrate our resolve publicly and leave no doubt that we won’t be walked over, won't be held hostage to uneven bargaining terms, nor settle for any government “crumbs” potentially offered, but under untenable and reprehensible prerequisites:

Meaningful dialogue is not possible without trust, and Past behavior often predicts future behavior

Presumably this has all been bandied about by the coalition team already, so perhaps you've already included elements of it as potential items for the upcoming retiree ballot, or possibly for discussion during the imminent Regional status sessions.   At least, that is my hope.

Best regards, Tony Easterbrook