It's almost enough to make you think the game is rigged


Supreme Court rules feds don't need to return $28 billion in pension funds

In a unanimous 9-0 decision, the Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed an appeal from public service unions representing hundreds of thousands of employees, who wanted the government to pay back billions into the pension funds of federal public servants, Mounties and soldiers.


The ruling does not change the pension benefit plans of members, and was never going to.

But the unions wanted to federal government to pay back into their members' funds $28 billion in surplus contributions -- money the government used to pay down its deficit between 2001 and 2004.

The article reminds us that the Harper government recently made changes to these pensions because as they were, they were unsustainable. But it stands to reason that if you skim off the surpluses then there's nothing there for a rainy day. Now how long before some think tanker comes along to explain patiently that the pensions for the people currently in those jobs represent an unfunded liability that we can't afford?

It puts me in mind of an even larger Employment Insurance surplus that was "repurposed." Of course the EI program is working really well without that extra money.

It's the Age of Austerity and we have to settle for less. 'Cos when there's more, they make it disappear.

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So basically, the ruling was that they're allowed to take the money because they specially passed a law that said they were allowed to.
Well, I'm not sure I can argue with that. The government can pass laws that let them take people's stuff, and if it couldn't we'd be in trouble when the time came to take some stuff back from the rich.

The problem is political: That governments can pass laws saying they get to take money away from their employees, and from say the EI fund, without fearing for their electoral lives.

Actually, it also seems like they could do it because the union didn't own/control the pension fund. This is a lesson for public and private sector both:
If we're ever in a space where unions can once more negotiate the establishment of pensions, make sure the workers control the fund. Too goddamn easy to steal otherwise.

The problem is political

It is. I continue to be amazed at the way the Liberals have never been called on some of this stuff by their own supporters -- people who will scream bloody murder if Conservatives do the same types of things. But I guess it's the same principle that's at work when they say only Obama can cut Social Security.

The lesson is also about omnipotence .. see HSM 1V re mood disorders. Look more closely at sociopathy .. its thriving and trendy in Ottawa.

With a cadre of backroom bumboys, think tankers, political pigs, sanctimonious scum, poli-sci electoral grad geeks/wanks, dubious & corrupt law firms, petro lobbyists.. and the keys to Canada's treasury, Parliament, House of Commons, mainstream media.. we get to see why Canada is becoming or is unrecognizable outside its borders. Inside its borders we are far far slower to see what is underway.. much less believe Stephen Harper is getting away with it. Complete denial/disbelief by 99% of our population that a crime is underway.

Pension money is just another drawer full of cash to these opportunists and thieves. The Environment? First Nations? Environmental Law ? Impediments to be bulldozed or defrauded. All bow before Israel. We need to accept (those who care) that a single, bright, patient, conniving omnipotent alpha ideologue is driving the bus called Canada. Not a single 'Conservative' could replace him currently. He's that far ahead of the pathetic political pack. Baird? Kenney? Flaherty? Poilievre? Don't make me laugh.. Mackay ? Maybe.. we seem to appreciate the helpless and the hapless.. the stupid, absolute losers and liars.

So there we are.. one flaming faux f'd up so called Canadian named Harper, pimped by Preston Manning,his twisted ilk, like Ray Novak, Mackay, Findley, Kent, Clement, Byrne, Flaherty and a sanctimonious pig pack of exceptional posturers, liars & robothugs.. and the entire damn country goes into electoral grand mal convulsions and spits out a majority government.

Once again neocolonialism rears its pudgy powerful bad hair great white father head.. and assures us this is all about jobs, the economy, good government and long term prosperity.... Uh .. the long term prosperity thingy ? That's for whom ?


Simma down na.

Here's the thing. The nature of a defined benefit contribution plan is a contractual relationship between the employee and employer.

The upside and the downside?

If, like Alberta teachers, the fund underperforms, it doesn't matter to the pension holder - because the employer (Alberta Gov't) is obligated to make up the shortfall to comply with their contractual obligation.

What this means, however, is as the plan is not a defined contribution plan, as it's not simply an RRSP sort of matching scenario, the contribution of the employee is not the property of the employee.

In other words, the money is either the employees (and the risk that goes with underperformance that goes with that) or the money is part of government general assets (with the risk that goes with that).

I might suggest that a better attack on the PC Government would be to continue hammering on the fact that the most successful finance minister in the last 50 years was a Liberal, Paul Martin... whereas the "conservative" governments have ramped up our deficit, in part, by showing financial mismanagement with the F-32 contracts and by pushing a "tought on crime" agenda which won't reduce crime and will cost billions of dollars which we can't afford and don't need.

Just sayin'

Just another two cents.

I'm a member of the Conservative Party. I've given money to the party.

And I'm not particularly happy and, truth be known, would love to see an intelligent, progressive, government provided that there is strong financial management of the type shown by Paul Martin.

If you want to remove the current government, you are going to do one of only two things:

a) You will consolidate the left - and either move the NDP ideoloy more right, and the Liberals more left.. Which I would suggest is a risk because you could lose more middle; or

b) The Liberal party lures back the middle who abandoned them (I think the better concept, but that's just my opinion.. but I can assure I would not vote, no matter how irrirated I am with the current government, with a united left party).

Have a good holiday season!

I have no intention of simmering down.

The Harper government just finished making changes to the civil service pensions -- raising the retirement age and increasing the employee contributions -- on the grounds that as things stood the pensions were unsustainable. Paul Martin helped set that up by skimming off the surplus.

The EI program has become something of a joke. When we need it most there should be a serious surplus there to help people who need it. But Paul Martin skimmed that off too.

And that's Paul Martin, your crackerjack finance minister. He made his reputation in part by playing games with the books with consequences that didn't become evident until he was long gone.

Merry Christmas to you, too.


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This page contains a single entry by pogge published on December 20, 2012 9:24 AM.

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