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Letter to Editor from Gretta Wells

Dear Editor:

I was delighted by Premier Alward’s propaganda video on TV this summer – he clearly states that New Brunswick is “turning the corner” and everything is coming up roses! – Our economy is rebounding, our young people will come home to jobs, everyone will have a job and a chicken in the pot – this upturn in the economy should also mean that the pensions promised to provincial retirees can now be honoured as they have been by all previous governments. 

No longer will we go to bed each night worrying about losing our security!  No longer will we wake up each morning worrying that we may find ourselves unable to make ends meet as our trusted government abandons its oldest and most helpless.  Bravo, Premier Alward! – we are waiting for you to end our worries and affirm our existing pensions as promised us. 

The Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse defines elder abuse as follows:  basically, as “harm to an older adult.” – it goes on to say that “… single or repeated acts, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within a relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes  harm or distress to an older person.” … (is “elder” or “senior abuse.”)

That definition firmly applies to Mr. Alward and his government who are in a position of trust; i.e., a “relationship where there is an expectation of trust” when it comes to our promised and existing pension agreements.  We trusted government to honour our pension agreement, never imagining that New Brunswick would be the only jurisdiction in Canada that refuses to honour or “grandfather” existing pensioners while bringing in their proposed shared-risk pension.  Is this senior abuse, Mr. Alward?

There is certainly “great distress” being experienced among provincial pensioners – and it has gone on continually since the early part of this year.  Is this senior abuse, Mr. Alward?   

Provincial pensioners will certainly be harmed if Premier Alward and his government continues to dishonour us … harm in that the majority of elderly provincial retirees will be unable to afford to pay their property taxes or maintain their homes; harm in that many will not be able to afford adequate food, harm in that many will be unable to afford the necessities of life – heat, a roof over their head, telephone or transportation; proper footwear, clothing, and medications, if we lose our existing pensions that were promised us.  Taking away something that was promised us, by a government we trusted, causing us hardship and distress in our old age – is this senior abuse, Mr. Alward?

We appreciate what we have, and what we have worked hard for during the many years of our working life.  To  have done that, faithfully believing that our government would be honourable, honouring our service, only to find that we have been betrayed, shattering our expectation of some degree of security in our later years, causing us great distress and probable future harm to varying degrees – Is this not senior abuse, Mr. Alward?


Gretta Wells

Fredericton, NB