Monday, February 6, 2012

'Open Letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper'; Feb 5th '12 Posted in North Shore News, BC

From North Shore News

MPs' pension protected, not OAS
Open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

Given how little time MPs have to wait to be eligible for their disgusting tax-payer funded pensions, I think your proposal to increase eligibility for OAS (and I assume the attendant CPP and GIS) to 67 years is a travesty.

Let us begin with MP pensions. I give credence to the following contribution information. Obviously you choose to ignore it, or expect us to believe you're worth the cost to each and every taxpayer.

Do you know how the pension funds of members of Parliament did during the 2008 recession and market meltdown? Incredibly they grew by 10.4 per cent. Was this thanks to masterful investment strategy? No. In fact, MP pension funds are not invested at all. They are notional accounts that are guaranteed, by law, to grow by 10.4 per cent a year, every year. The "interest" is paid into these accounts by taxpayers.

In fact, while we once thought taxpayers were chipping in $5.80 for every $1 contributed by an MP into their pension accounts, thanks to these phony interest earnings, taxpayers are actually kicking in $23.30 for every $1 paid in by an MP.

What this means is that on average, taxpayers are putting more money into an MP's pension account each year ($248,000) than we're paying them in salary ($157,000 base pay) and way, way more than MPs themselves are contributing to their own pensions ($10,990 minimum).

A recent C.D. Institute report pegs the unfunded liability in federal government employee pension plans at $227 billion. That's a debt (in addition to our nearly $580 billion federal debt) of over $6,500 for every man, woman and child in Canada, just to cover the shortfalls in bureaucrat pensions.

As if that isn't revolting enough, the age extension for eligibility is reprehensible, not only for persons who have worked/struggled all their lives and who still enjoy good health (no thanks to our deteriorating federal health funding), but for persons who must struggle to survive on disability pensions. Most have worked much of their lives and have no control over the development of deteriorating health conditions. They count down the days to reaching age 65 and increasing their income by a third or more so that they can once again live with a little dignity. These people must look forward to two more years of dismal existence which for many is almost a death sentence.

It is increasingly apparent that the aim and agenda of your Conservative party is to ensure corporations are given every financial subsidy and tax break possible and that the financial woes of the country must be downloaded on the Canadian taxpayer.

I am a pensioner, formerly on a disability pension for the last four years before being eligible for the poverty line OAS, CPP and GIS. For four years previously, I worked at a minimum wage job on weekends, the only employment I could get because of my medical situation. I currently must live in subsidized housing.

I speak from experience. I am not alone.

Pamela Best, West Vancouver

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