Considerable opposition to pension reform as bill clears final hurdle
Considerable opposition to pension reforms remains in New Brunswick as the bill is set to pass in the legislature.
Clifford Kennedy says retired civil servants have lost trust in the New Brunswick government.
“They don’t have any respect for seniors. They don’t have any respect for retirees,” says Kennedy.
He says planned changes to civil service pensions will cost retirees money and are a breach of contract. But, as the plan is set to become law, Kennedy says there are few options left in the fight pensioners are waging.
"There's the legal case that we can go forward with, that'll be in the new year, and there's also September 22, 2014, the next election," says Kennedy.
The government says the current public sector pension plan is on the verge of failing as it is underfunded by about a billion dollars.
New Brunswick Finance Minister Blaine Higgs says the proposed plan would have paid retirees the same as the current plan over the past two decades.
“This year, this plan will actually pay a cost of living to the PSSA members, where the current PSSA plan would not, because of how it's structured, how it's funded and how it will be paid out going forward," says Higgs.
The opposition Liberals attempted to stall the bill before the vote took place, but the government moved quickly to limit debate - a move the Liberals say is out of the prime minister’s play book.
"I'm not sure if there's a direct line to Harper from David Alward on how these procedures work, but it seems like that's exactly what's going on. It's the same tactics Stephen Harper uses in Ottawa, they're using them here in New Brunswick," says Liberal MLA Bill Fraser.
The government hopes to have the bill given royal ascent before Christmas.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Andy Campbell