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Tories hope to come to the aid of pensioners

O’Toole sympathized with pension workers, saying “far too often we’ve seen workers through no fault of their own forced to take big cuts to their pension when the company they work for goes bankrupt. This needs to change.”

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Have no fear pensioners, Erin O’Toole is here!

Leader of the Opposition Erin O’Toole said yesterday if elected, a Conservative cabinet would rework federal law to give preference “to pensioners in bankruptcy court settlements,” according to Blacklock’s Reporter.

Interestingly, the Bloc Québécois proposed a similar bill which lapsed in the last Parliament — despite receiving support from the Canadian Labour Congress.

O’Toole sympathized with pension workers, saying “far too often we’ve seen workers through no fault of their own forced to take big cuts to their pension when the company they work for goes bankrupt. This needs to change.”

As a remedy, O’Toole proposed changes to the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act in order to give pensioners preferential status over other creditors — including banks.

O’Toole hopes to target executives to prevent them from “paying themselves large bonuses while managing a company going through restructuring if the pension isn’t properly funded. It’s that simple.”

Bill C-253, An Act To Amend The Bankruptcy And Insolvency Act proposed similar action, with unions petitioning the Commons’ industry committee to endorse the bill.

The Department of Finance calculated the measure to benefit approximately 1.2 million private sector workers with defined benefit plans.

Dominic Lemieux, a director with the United Steelworkers, asked at June 1 in-committee hearings for members to “think about our pensioners, our most vulnerable in society, our elderly.”

Then-president of the Canadian Labour Congress, Hassan Yussuff, said “workers and pensioners should be first in line, not last, when it comes to paying creditors.”

Yussuff said the Act in its current state penalizes pensioners “through no fault of their own,” during one of the most high stress, vulnerable periods of their lives.

“We think that is something fundamentally wrong,” said Yussuff. “What we see from time and time again is employers will not make their contribution or allow their pension fund to not meet obligations,” Yussuff said.

Yussuff also pointed out the unfairness of creditors and banks getting to jump over pensioners in companies’ bankruptcy queues.

Then-Industry Minister Navdeep Bains told reporters in 2017 “there is no plan” to appease pensioners’ advocates who had repeatedly attempted to get the Act rewritten since 1975.

On June 1, 2020 — with economic uncertainties running rampant as the nation attempted to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic — Labour Minister Filomena Tassi said during testimony at the Commons human resources committee through the act cabinet would “absolutely ensure pensions are protected.”

NDP MP Scott Duvall asked if the government will fix the laws “to protect workers’ and pensioners’ rights?” Minister Tassi replied amendments have already been made and will continue to be made.

“We want to absolutely ensure that pensions are protected,” Tassi said.

Canada is no stranger to pensioners being left out in the cold in the wake of companies going belly-up and filing for bankruptcy. During the 2017 closure of Sears Canada the company left a $266.8 million shortfall in pensions for approximately 18,000 retirees. Payments were reduced by 30%.

The 2015 bankruptcy filing of Cliff Natural Resources Inc. out of Cleveland saw 1,700 pensioners in Québec and Labrador “lose a quarter of benefits.”

At the time, Cliff Natural Resources had a $28 million pension deficit at the time.

Bloc Québécois MP Marilène Gill, sponsor of Bill C-253, described Cliff Natural Resources’ treatment of their Canadian employees as “a disaster.” On May 25 Gill told the Commons industry “the basic principle is that pensions are deferred wages.”

Gill committed to O’Toole’s pensioner-protection efforts, saying “I am not elected by banks. I am elected by workers and citizens.”

Jackie Conroy is a reporter for the Western Standard
jconroy@westernstandardonline.com

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. James Taylor

    August 26, 2021 at 7:55 am

    We are literally on the brink of a totalitarian society and economic ruin, and O’Toole is talking about seniors pensions?
    No one is kept up at night by this shit.
    The CPC is the LPC in Blue.

  2. Steven

    August 25, 2021 at 9:22 pm

    The Federal Basic Tax Exemption is a joke & an insult to seniors.

    This has to change Mr. O’Toole. $13,808 is a joke (before you start paying fed tax on income). Seniors, on low income, are screwed every year because of this low exemption rate. You want fairness for seniors O’Toole then calculate what a senior makes on CPP $$1,203 x 12 = $14,436 & OAS $626.49 x 12 = $7517 per year and make that the Federal Basic Tax Exemption ($21,953) This is what it should be.

    For the 2021 tax year, the federal basic personal amount is $13,808 (for taxpayers with a net income of $151,978 or less). This means that an individual Canadian taxpayer can earn up-to $13,808 in 2021 before paying any federal income tax.

  3. Andrew

    August 25, 2021 at 5:22 pm

    LOSERS

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Three unvaxxed U o W staff suing province

The instructors allege that due to their vaccine status they’ve had to withstand “ridicule, hatred, maltreatment and discrimination,” in a statement of claim?

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Three unvaccinated University of Winnipeg Collegiate instructors forced to take unpaid leave are suing the province and several parties over an “overboard, unreasonable, and discriminatory” vaccine mandate.

The instructors allege that due to their vaccine status they’ve had to withstand “ridicule, hatred, maltreatment and discrimination,” in a statement of claim reported by CBC and Winnipeg Free Press Friday.

“All of the plaintiffs have suffered vilification and extreme ill-will being directed at them as ‘unvaccinated’ people as a result of the University of Winnipeg and other government of Manitoba representatives making false public statements and promulgating policies which have the effect of stating the unvaccinated are to blame for the pandemic,” says the lawsuit.

The university, province, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, Manitoba Health, and the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Immigration are included as defendants named in the lawsuit filed Monday in Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench. 

The plaintiffs, placed on unpaid leave last September 7, are Renise Mlodzinski, who holds degrees in education and music performance; Evan Maltman, who holds degrees in kinesiology-physical education and education; and Kyle Du Val, who holds degrees in science-physics, music performance, and education.

The instructors allege being placed on unpaid leave caused their vaccination status to be “immediately apparent.”

They point to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that protects Canadians from being compelled to disclose private medical information, including vaccine status.

As well, they note, the Criminal Code of Canada deems it an offence to make statements that willfully and promote hatred an against an identifiable group.

They allege the province’s vaccine policy amounts to “an expressed intention to engage in a conspiracy to commit assault” because it attempts to force employees to be vaccinated.

The lawsuit calls for the vaccine policy to be stayed until the court reviews the matter.

The provincial government has implemented policies that cast blame on the unvaccinated for hospital overcrowding, the spread of COVID-19, and restricts their rights to access society treating them as “sub-humans,” says the lawsuit.

It challenges the university’s policy claim that vaccination is the single most effective health measure “essential to the university’s institutional response” to reduce the spread of COBID-19 and claim scientific evidence doesn’t support that.

“The rhetoric has resulted in a large portion of Manitobans believing that if they are fully vaccinated, they are safe from the virus and cannot be infected or infect others. Omicron has exploded this mythology,” says the lawsuit.

Scientific studies show no significant difference in the viral load between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals who tested positive for COVID-19,” says the lawsuit, pointing to breakthrough cases of COVID-19 in vaccinated people.

The province and chief medical officer Dr. Brent Roussinhave promoted a “false sense of security” that the vaccinated are protected, it alleges.

“There is neither a moral obligation to vaccinate, nor a sound ethical basis to mandate vaccination under any circumstances, even for hypothetical vaccines that are medically risk free.

“Under the present circumstances, when the science clearly demonstrates that the so-called vaccines do not provide either complete sterilizing immunity nor prevent the ‘fully vaccinated’ from infecting others, the grossly unethical nature of vaccine mandates” becomes even more clear.”

The vaccines, with ingredients not revealed to the public, haven’t undergone the standard approval process that takes years “to properly assess the benefits and risks from clinical data, including any potential long-term side effects,” it says.

“The vaccination program in Canada is being adjusted on the fly as adverse effects manifest necessitating the need for constant amendments of safety guidelines. This underlines the experimental nature of these vaccines.”

They point to Ontario data showing one in 5,000 suffered myocarditis from the Moderna vaccine, and one in 28,000 patients from the Pfizer vaccine.

Recommendations that people age of 18-24 receive the Pfizer vaccine as opposed to Moderna because of an increase in myocarditis and death in that age group have been made by Ontario, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Sweden

“The government of Manitoba has not followed this safety protocol, nor has it provided an explanation for ignoring these concerns to Manitobans,” says the lawsuit.

The university rejected vaccine exceptions on religious grounds applied for by all three instructors.

They’re seeking $1 million in damages for violating their Charter rights and up to $1 million in damages for the “intentional infliction of mental distress, and assault and battery” they allege resulted in threats and assaults, loss of income, post-traumatic stress disorder and lost employment opportunities.

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard
lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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Canadians want more indigenous representation on Parliament Hill

The survey followed a Liberal cabinet proposal to address “colonialism, patriarchy and racism” in historical commemorations.

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There is too much colonialism represented on Parliament Hill and the majority of Canadians asked said they would like to see more Indigenous representation, says a Department of Public Works survey.

Blacklock’s Reporter says the survey followed a Liberal cabinet proposal to address “colonialism, patriarchy and racism” in historical commemorations.

“Sixty percent believe it is important for Parliament Hill to be reflective of the cultural diversity of the country,” said an internal survey.

“Somewhat fewer but still half of Canadians believe it is important for Parliament Hill to be a gathering place reflective of Indigenous cultures (56%).”

Twenty percent rated reflection of Indigenous cultures as “unimportant” on Parliament Hill, said the report.

Findings were based on questionnaires with 1,551 people nationwide. The public works department paid Ekos Research Associates $57,865 for the survey.

“The public opinion research forms part of the public engagement strategy to obtain feedback on how their experience on Parliament Hill and the broader precinct could be improved in the future, and how to ensure the precinct continues to be a welcoming place that reflects the values and aspirations of all Canadians,” wrote researchers.

Parliament Hill tributes currently celebrate Caucasian people including statues honouring Queens Elizabeth and Victoria, former prime ministers Macdonald, Mackenzie, Laurier, Borden, King, Diefenbaker and Pearson, a War of 1812 Monument, and statues for two Fathers of Confederation killed by assassination, George Brown of Toronto and D’Arcy McGee of Montréal.

Cabinet in a 2019 report said historical tributes must address “colonialism, patriarchy and racism.”

The document was written as a guide for the National Historic Sites and Monuments Board.

“There is a need to be cognizant of, and to confront, these legacies,” said the report. “This contributes to the ongoing process of truth-telling and reconciliation.”

Cabinet in 2017 removed historic plaques marking the Langevin Block, the home of the Prime Minister’s Office named for Hector-Louis Langevin, a Confederation-era Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Cabinet members have also expressed unease in using a meeting hall across the street from Parliament named the John A. Macdonald Building.

It was “uncomfortable coming into this building,” Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller told reporters last June 2.

“He was one of the key authors and perpetuated the Residential School system,” said Miller.

The national archives in 2021 deleted a web feature First Among Equals honouring Macdonald.

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U of M prof: Alberta suffers least, Ontario most by unvaxxed trucker ban

“You can quote me: they’re gonna spend a lot more lettuce for their lettuce,” says University of Manitoba professor Barry Prentice.

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As of Saturday, truckers who cross the American border into Canada must be vaccinated for COVID-19, something one Manitoba professor says will hurt all Canadians, but Westerners the least.

Barry Prentice, Professor of Supply Chain Management at the University of Manitoba, tells the Western Standard the federal government has failed to properly assess the risks.

“This is nonsense. We’ve been now 22 months into this, and suddenly they think, ‘Oh, people have to be vaccinated.’ Is there a big risk? No, there’s no risk assessment associated with this decision whatsoever. And, indeed, the drivers, they tend to stay in their cabs. They’re not getting out running around. So who are they going to infect?” Prentice said.

Although the announcement was made November 19, the timing for follow-through seemed odd to Prentice, since Manitoba minimized its isolation requirements. As of January 1, vaccinated Manitobans who tested positive for COVID-19 but have no fever and were feeling better needed only five days’ isolation.

“The Manitoba government has just told us, ‘We’re cutting y’all loose. You’re on your own, good luck.’ In so many words that’s what they’ve said. ‘Look after yourself now, we’ve done as much as we can do.’…Saskatchewan’s in that train as well. Kids are going back to school, and there’s more damage done to them, psychologically, being trapped in their houses, than what risk a virus might have,” Prentice said.

“It’s back to the vaccine, either it works or it doesn’t work. Now we all know that the vaccine won’t stop you getting the virus; it just stops you from becoming a hospital patient. That is the premise. Of course, nobody wants to get the flu…I take precautions anyway, as do most people.”

The trucking industry has already had worker shortages for years and Prentice believes the border policy will raise trucking prices and push some truckers out of the driver’s seat altogether. This will mean higher prices for goods, especially for fruits and vegetables bought east of Saskatchewan.

“You can quote me, they’re gonna spend a lot more lettuce for their lettuce,” Prentice says, as he explains why cross-border trucking is less prevalent on the Western Prairies.

“There’s nothing really south of Alberta. So if you drop a load off in Alberta, you can’t pick up a load there to take back somewhere in the States because there’s nothing in Montana or Wyoming. Whereas, if you’re coming to Winnipeg, you can drop down to Fargo, Minnesota; or Minneapolis. And if you’re in Ontario, there’s a huge number of loads there to Chicago, Detroit and so on.”

Prentice believes Transport Minister Omar Alghabra is “incompetent” and his Liberal colleagues have a blind spot when it comes to supply chains.

“It really shows that this is a party of three big cities. And they don’t really understand how things move around because they’re urban, they’re urban people represented in government. Alghabra, I don’t think he’s ever been to Manitoba, let alone the rest of Western Canada or to the North. And he’s a Mississauga MP,” Prentice said.

“It goes back to the quality of leadership in the country. I don’t have a lot of belief that this prime minister understands transportation.”

The US is planning a similar mandate for truckers crossing into their country, requiring vaccination as of January 22. Prentice is more concerned about U.S. thinking and politics crossing the border than COVID-19.

“You literally can look up almost anything on the Internet. But of course, it also is a great vehicle for spreading falsehoods…to the political peril. What we’re seeing in the States right now scares me. Living next door to them doesn’t protect us from their craziness,” he said.

“We need to vaccinate them for stupidity. That’s what we need a vaccine for.”

Lee Harding is a freelance contributor living in Saskatchewan.

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