Firstly, I booked a seat in the members gallery the day prior and sent my bio to Ken Hughes (MLA Calgary West) as did Larry Connell to his Teresa Woo-Paw (MLA Calgary North Hill)
By chance I met Ken in the hallway and took the opportunity to talk about public sector pensions. I started introducing myself as Local 115 VP representing 3000 Nurses and Ken then asked how many Nurses were in the Province. I stated UNA represents approx 26,000 Nurses. I informed Ken I was there today to advocate for Public Sector Pensions and opposed to the proposed changes. I informed Ken that members want a sustainable pension fund, can agree on this point with the government.
The issue is how the pension issue is being dealt with by the government. Members want to be included in the process of any changes to their pension, have a transparent process and have their Representatives be included in any changes to their Pensions.
Ken replied by saying "the Nurses have nothing to worry about, you will be ok". I politely said that is good to hear but you need to know I am opposed to the government making changes to Public Pensions without a fair inclusive process.
Ken was asked if he had read the Independent Actuary report that said the Public Sector pensions are healthy and sustainable. Ken said no, then went on to say that the government has done their own Actuary.
Larry Connell had joined me by then and politely asked Ken if he had read the government report and if he knew where one could find the government copy. Larry informed Ken he had looked and could not find it. Ken acknowledge he had not read the government actuary either.
Ken did answer honestly, that he did not read the Actuary or Bill 9 and was not up on the Pension issue….oh my!
Public pension workers have to take this opportunity and inform their MLA’s that they are opposed to any changes to Public Pensions with out the members of those plans and their Representatives being included in the decision making on OUR Pensions.
The PC’s are saying they consulted the Public over the last 18 months in regards to Public Pensions and consulted the Pension boards about the pension changes….really? Please tell us WHO?
Do any of you know any public person or Pension Board member who was consulted?
Doug Horner (PC Minister of Finance) talked about a Targeted Cost of Living Allowance……no explanation about what this means.
Rachel Notley (NDP Edmonton Strathcona) introduced an amendment to Bill 9 that the Public Pension be referred back to the Standing Committee for true consultation with affected parties…debated was adjourned at 1800hr and resumed at 1930hr. Rachel & Deron Bilous NDP Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview did a great job asking the opposition who in the public they consulted and why the government is moving to push this Bill through.
Rod Fox (Wildrose -LaCombe/Ponoka) spoke in opposition to Bill 9, about calls from his constituents of Nurses and frontline workers, a story of the wonderful nursing care is mother and support the family received for 5 years. How he saw how hard Nurses worked and that Nurses should not then have to go home and worry about their pensions that they have contributed to at the end of the day.
Laurie Blakeman (Liberal Edmonton Center) opposed Bill 9, that the democratic process for reform to the Public Sector pensions has not been followed by the PC government.
Kyle Fawcett (PC Calgary Klein) – defended Bill 9 by saying the Public Pensions are not sustainable, that the government consulted the public…repeated same rhetoric as Doug Horner.
To paint a picture for question period of how many MLA’s who were in the government house,
30 PC MLA’s out of 57, 9 out of 17 wildrose, 4 out of 5 Liberals, and 4 out of 4 NDP’s…47 MLA’s out of 86 Elected MLA’s. After question period which is televised the numbers dwindled even further…PC’s 18, Lib 1, NDP 3.
Only 22-25 MLA’s in the house making decisions on our Pension. Many PC’s came & went not even listening or participating in the debate.
I was appalled by the lack of order and respect that occurred during debate. I would expected elected officials to sit up and be appropriate…not talking over a speaker, nor listening to the debate. These MLA’s are being paid to do the work of the people not sit like arrogant pompous …..excluding a handful.
Larry said he even got the middle finger from one of the PC MLA’s in the form of a middle finger going up and down on ones eye glasses.
It is shameful and shows the blatant disregard for the people MLA’s represent.
Short notice but if you live in Edmonton area, debate is resuming at 3pm Thursday April 24th and is open to the public. Adjourns and 6 pm and resumes as necessary at 1930hr.
Members need to show we care about our pensions, wear white, bring a friend, a partner…fill those Galleries.
Members need to continue to keep the pressure on their MLA’s to not go through with changes to our Pensions
Local 115 FMC Calgary