With the Ghiz government’s recent announcement of a greatly-weakened pension plan for public sector workers, we clearly see an example of a government not being reasonable.
It is completely clear that the proposal put forward by unions was both reasonable and workable. And the Ghiz government unilaterally rejected this proposal and would not discuss it.
This proposal would have let government meet its financial objectives. And it would have cost Islanders no more than the plan imposed by the government. Public sector workers would have made sacrifices in the alternative proposal though, of course, not to the severe extent as with the plan imposed by the government.
The union proposal was highly responsible and forward-looking. It recommended a joint governance model whereby the union would have a say in the management of its members’ pension plan.
There are precedents established for such a model including the B.C. Public Service Pension Plan, the Nova Scotia Health-Care Employees Plan, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and many others.
The Ghiz government would have nothing to do with it. They had to keep control. But this is par for the course for the Ghiz government. Time and time again they have made huge decisions on many millions of dollars without any clear argument that they were pursuing the best option. We saw that with PNP, Plan B, gambling schemes, projects involving hotels and business buildings, massive loans for unclear purposes, and dubious debt management schemes.
Just like with the imposition of the HST the premier broke his word. He promised unions they would be consulted. What could have been a constructive dialogue has become a destructive monologue. Of course, once again, this is par for the course for the Ghiz government.
The Ghiz government’s dictate on the pension plan should be put on hold. Government management of the pension plan should be assessed by the auditor general. The Ghiz government should defend its management of the plan in front of all public sector workers and all Islanders. The joint governance model should be considered.
People are showing initiative. That spirit should not be punished, nor ignored.
The alternative proposal seems to be reasonable. The Ghiz government and its imposed plan are not reasonable.
If adopted, this model would instantly remove 50 per cent of the pension liability from the government.
Provincial New Democratic Party leader