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Pensions: Who can retirees trust? - D. Wiezel

David Wiezel Commentary  16 Apr 2013 06:03PM

(Note: This Commentary appeared in the Telegraph Journal)

Had the New Brunswick government opened the approach to pension reform with the “pay it forward” approach advocated in Mike Wong’s “Pensions: When Is A Deal Not A Deal” (April 13) column in Saturday’s Telegraph-Journal, it might be on a better public relations footing with retirees today.

Not that Mike Wong’s opinion addresses or eliminates any of the legitimate concerns about arbitrarily and unilaterally shutting down our pension plan and replacing it with a lesser model (shared risk) but it would have been a better opening gambit than trying to mislead retirees, politicians and the media (one media outlet even reported retirees would not be affected by shared risk based on Premier Alward’s comments last May) with cleverly chosen words designed to obscure it’s effects.

If the pension task force’s shared risk believed its product was that good, why mislead folks with words like “go forward basis,” which really meant “retroactive” for retirees and “your pension on conversion won’t drop” while negating to say for eight months, that it could drop after that. Calling “conditional indexing” indexing when it is more like a type of profit sharing “temporarily” added to the base if conditions warrant won’t impress anyone who has ever had a conditional offer on a house.

Yes, the government sure stumbled out of the gate on public service pension reform. (Click Here for Full Commentary)