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During conversations in the last election what surprised me was what I heard from many retired teachers.
They felt the NDP was losing ground because of de-indexing of govt. pensions. I was surprised because my husband is a retired civil servant.
While it would be nice to have future pension income indexed to inflation, it’s a luxury few outside government have.
And if pensions are not fully funded by the Pension Fund, where will funds come from to pay pensions? Education, community services and health.
Stella Campbell | October 22, 2013 | Reply
until we find a way to hold the leaders accountable in real time vs just by not re-electing them we will not make much progress for our province. It is completely unprofessional of our leaders to continue performing the way they do and our system does not encourage change but continues to accept the childish leadership. A semi annual report card on delivery of promises made with the implication of poor grades being a handing over of the reins to another party or a re-election that the failing party must pay for, No pain no gain.
blair | September 9, 2013 | Reply
To balance the budget and to make annual reductions to the provincial debt must be the first thing that any serious government must do. The two items which must be cut are the cost of civil service wages and the pension obligation of the government.
The biggest roadblock to cutting salary costs are civil service unions. Serious consideration must be given to suspending many of these unions for some fixed term – say five years.
Secondly, the annual salary bill must be cut by either reducing the number of civil servants or by cutting civil service salaries across the board. If you want to cut salary costs by 10%, the most brutal but effective way is to cut all salaries by 10% and freezing civil service wages for 5 years. Our civil servants are paid more than the majority of taxpayers earn.
The pension problem will soon become overwhelming if a halt is not put to this growing obligation. All civil service pensions should become defined contribution plans. Beginning these cuts with the bloated MLA pension plan would be a good start. But all pensions must be switched – that way, both contributors and beneficiaries share the risk.
The next place to cut costs is to actually manage costs in our medicare system. Right now, the province has simply thrown money at this problem and relied on the federal government to toss in a funding increase of 6% per year. Quite rightly, the federal government plans to put a halt to this largesse. If other countries can outdo our system for less money, we should be able to match them. So far, no provincial party has been willing to act that responsibly.
Our province is well on the road to bankruptcy. If a five year plan similar to what I have outlined above is not soon implemented, thousands of civil servants will lose their jobs and their pensions. The time for tinkering with the books and trying to be all things to all people is nearing the end. All we really need is some serious belt tightening and fiscal discipline. Unfortunately, I think our crop of politicians are too childish and too lacking in courage to make the necessary changes to regain control of our provincial economy. If we are not careful, we’ll all soon be going down the road.
Jon Coates | September 7, 2013 | Reply
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