Friday, March 22, 2013

Two Messages For Tim Hudak

I have a bit of a busy morning ahead, so just a brief post for now. I have written many times about young Tim Hudak, the lad who aspires to become Premier of Ontario through rhetoric that demonizes the public sector, public sector pensions, and unions. Apparently, constructive policy and breadth of vision are beyond his ken.

Here are two letters from today's Star that nicely capture the severe moral and intellectual limitations the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party labours under:

Re: Hudak takes aim at public sector pensions, March 18

I assume Hudak’s ambition is to ensure that no one has any money when they retire, except the rich, and of course the political whores who do their bidding. Hudak is on the same race to the bottom that the Republican Tea-Baggers advocate in the States.

Gerry Brown, Toronto

Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak shows so little interest in facts that I doubt he can be swayed by rational argument when it comes to public sector pensions. But the truth does matter, so here it is.

The pensions my members collect after a lifetime of work are far from lavish. In health care, the average retiree receives less than $19,100 a year. In the public service, it’s less than $21,800. In the colleges, it’s under $22,800. All three of these plans are in surplus. They have no unfunded liability.

Despite what Mr. Hudak says, talks between the government and pension plans cannot “fail” in our case, for the simple reason that they have already succeeded. The government asked us to keep premiums where they are over the medium term, and we were able to do that.

Public sector pension plans are a good deal for the citizens of Ontario. Through prudent investment, our plans provide more retirement security at less cost than private plans ever could.

Tim Hudak’s mistake is that he sees decent pensions as a problem when in fact they are a solution to the very real problem of seniors’ poverty. His attack on public plans masks the fact that he has no plan at all for retirement security for Ontarians — not even the private sector workers he claims to care about. Any fool can destroy a pension plan; it takes grown-up, long-term commitment to build one. Hudak should drop the right-wing blather and voice his support for expanding the best defined-benefit pension plan in the world, the Canada Pension Plan.

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure which "public sector pension" Smokey is referring to but OMERS is in a fairly significant deficit position.