Monday, January 02, 2006

Trust Paul Martin With Your Pension?

Let's go back a couple of years to see how Paul Martin treats his employees in regards to their pension plans.

When Paul Martin's CSL Equity Investments Inc. sold (scroll down a bit) Voyageur's bus routes to Greyhound in 1996, the bus driver's pension fund was short by $2.4 million, and up to 146 long-term employees lost 30 percent of their pensions. The trustees who ran the company pension plan for Paul Martin's bus line then pressured a federal pension regulator to amend a report on the funds 1997 collapse, and even suggested shredding part of the document to hide it from public view. The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) (which is under the Finance Departement) reported that it was "the first failure of a federally supervised pension plan involving significant losses to individuals." The documents released by OSFI under the Access to Information Act show that Mr. Martin's aides, Karl Littler and Terrie O'Leary, were kept in the loop about the Voyageur pension plan file by OSFI's deputy superintendent, Nick LePan, who later took over the top job at the agency. The trustees' lawyer, Daniele Mayrand, wanted the summary "completely destroyed or shredded so it would never be disclosed." OSFI's legal counsel said it wasn't possible to shred the report, and instead recommended it be discussed with Price Waterhouse. Later, Price Waterhouse produced an amended report. It is not clear from documents released what was removed from the final version.

OSFI later approved a request from Canada Steamship Lines, Paul Martin's family shipping company, to liquidate a $163-million surplus in its pension plan. The surplus was split equally between the company and the pension plan members.

So when it concerns Paul Martins very own employees , he is "entitled" to his fair share of their pension surplus and he will pull out all the stops so he doesn't have to cover a deficit -not too impressive for a billionare Finance Minister with Prime Ministerial sugar plums dancing in this head!

So how does this compare to his treatment of federal employees pensions? Another surplus - $30 billion - and the full amount taken by Paul Martin (to bolster his bid for Leader of the Liberal Party by positioning himself as the "slayer" of the deficit! Too bad it was done on the backs of health care and government employees.) The government recently lost a ruling where they were against admitting into evidence documents which at the time show Treasury Board and Paul Martin's Finance Department had significant disagreements over the ownership and handling of the surplus. The Finance Department claimed the government was entitled to the surplus because it was on the hook to make up any deficit in the plan. Treasury Board, however, said the ownership wasn't clear and a portion belonged to employees. One secret memo said then-Treasury Board president Marcel Masse -- who publicly said public servants weren't entitled to the surplus -- privately felt employees had a "claim" to the surplus and Finance's decision to use it to offset the deficit "was not right." If federal lawyers had successfully barred the documents, the unions would be forced to call the bureaucrats who wrote the documents as witnesses - most of whom would be reluctant to testify against their employer - to explain the contents of the documents.

To summarize if there is a pension plan deficit - Paul Martin washes his hands of it and employees are on their own. But if there is a surplus - Paul Martin is entitled to at least half and and will go for all of it if he thinks he can get away with it!

4 Comments:

Blogger Candace said...

Yikes. Good digging! Does PMPM even know how to spell 'integrity'?

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Rob said...

Add the public service pension money to the EI surplus ripoff and a monkey with a peice of chalk could of balance the budget

1:27 PM  
Blogger eugene plawiuk said...

Well done. The Liberals refused to provide arms length control of EI despite all three opposition parties supporting it. Cause its the Liberals slush fund.

3:58 AM  
Blogger Brian Lemon said...

Now that Martin is talking about how he will protect pensions for Canadian, this great post is due for a re-release.

Brian

4:56 PM  

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