Opposition Leader Steven Myers calls for delay of pension bill

Teresa Wright
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Passerby Dave Cudmore walks past Province House in Charlottetown Wednesday, Dec. 4, as a storm of a different sort raged inside: question period.

A winter storm may have shut down most of Prince Edward Island, but the provincial legislature was open as usual Wednesday in Charlottetown.

During question period, Opposition Leader Steven Myers called on government to put off its pension changes until the spring.

He alluded to comments made by Finance Minister Wes Sheridan, who has said some details of the pension reforms, including governance, will continue to be negotiated – after the legislation is passed.

“Will you allow democracy to work and hold this bill over to the spring when all the changes could be shown together?” Myer asked.

Premier Robert Ghiz refused, saying they have already spent 16 months negotiating with unions on the pension changes.

“No, this is legislation that is necessary to put forth right now.”

Sheridan also said government must make these changes during this legislative session. Otherwise, the actuarial review done every three years of the province’s pension funds will show a $450 million liability on the province’s books related to those funds.

Myers then pointed to the fact Sheridan is now saying he is willing to look at joint trusteeship of the pension funds with the unions, while he has also said this would not go forward anytime soon.

“Will he admit today that his promises are just a bait and switch for absolute power?” Myer said.

Sheridan said he has always told unions governance of the fund would change with his government’s reforms.

“Whenever there’s a greater sharing of risk, which is taking place inside our plan, there needs to be a change in governance. That’s what is taking place in January, we promised the unions that would take place, we said it at the outset.

“It’s very important that we’re working hand in hand here to make a sustainable pension plan for Islanders."

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

  • m
    December 04, 2013 - 21:05

    if your interested in whats really going to happen to these PROMISED pensions, have a look at whats going on in Detriot, that will tell you everything....stop relying on what someone else is PROMISING to do and take control of your own destiny

  • Dundas Sue
    December 04, 2013 - 20:46

    Why is it that private pension plans have rules to follow with respect to the EMPLOYER actually putting the money aside they say they are putting aside and the government only pretends to put it aside. Change the rules for the future, maybe, but the givt should come good on promises already made.

  • Christmas has come early, eh?
    December 04, 2013 - 17:45

    If ya get robbed and two years pass before ya get a pop at justice, will ya still feel as much like a victim? Ghiz is counting on short term memory, instant gratification and apathy. That and a useless opposition! Islanders better have a plan b . . . Opps, sorry.

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    December 04, 2013 - 16:38

    They will not admit that it they screwed up with the pension fund. It is a little late now to make a plan "SUSTAINABLE". We were promised before that the pension plans were sustainable, so who is not telling the truth? Who is not owning up to past failures? Where is the leadership? Where was the forethought? And why is it again that WE ALLOW GOVERNMENT TO GAMBLE WITH OUR FUTURES? A greater sharing of RISK? Why is or was there any risk? Because government got bad advice, was too stupid or didn't care enough to safeguard the pension monies (or was too GULLIBLE NOT TO QUESTION THE ADVICE) or ask for a second opinion as to safeguard investments?