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The conflict between retired civil servants and the provincial Tory Government comes down to one incontrovertible truth: if the government “changes” existing civil service pension plans as they apply to presently retired employees, the government will be in breach of contract.

It hopes to avoid the legal action these changes will surely instigate by applying the same kind of measures they applied to their breach of the Enbridge Contract; Bill 20, like Bill 18, will (apart from authorizing changes to pension plans) attempt to quash any dissension, making the government, its ministers and agents immune from any and all legal action. When the bully doesn’t like what you have to say, he tries to shut you up.

What should concern every citizen of the province of New Brunswick is the precedent such draconian legislation sets. What existing or future contract between this government and individuals, groups or companies can ever be considered sacrosanct? Will hospital, school or road construction contracts be next?

We have watched our provincial government negate or abruptly change the terms and conditions of previously signed, good faith agreements and sell these actions to an unsuspecting public using deceptive but effective media strategies.

What’s to stop them now from changing the conditions of any contract they don’t like? Every citizen, whether or not you support civil service pensioners, should be gravely concerned about this government’s attack on the laws that govern the way we do business. Our government should stop signing bad contracts (please), but honour the contracts it has.