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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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BC removes capacity limits in some areas, but only if you’re double vaccinated

The change comes into effect October 25, and it applies to indoor sporting events, concerts, theatres, weddings, funeral receptions outside of a funeral home, and organized parties.

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British Columbia will be seeing some restrictions eased for those who have can prove two doses of vaccination against COVID-19.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Tuesday that capacity limits for events and gatherings throughout much of the province — where proof-of-vaccination is required — will be lifted.

The change comes into effect October 25, and it applies to indoor sporting events, concerts, theatres, weddings, funeral receptions outside of a funeral home, and organized parties.

Health officials will also be removing the requirement to stay seated at restaurants.

The changes do not apply to regional restrictions in effect in Interior Health, Northern Health, and eastern Fraser Valley.

Personal gatherings, both indoor and outdoor, are restricted to fully vaccinated people throughout the Northern Health region, with the exception of Terrace, Kitimat, Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Stikine, and the Nisga’a areas.

Indoor mask requirements remain in effect for all indoor gatherings and events.

Reid Small is a BC correspondent for the Western Standard
rsmall@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/reidsmall

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WORLD WATCH: U.K. warns of new COVID variant as cases rise yet Japan numbers plummet

Experts are taking a close look at AY.4.2. to see how much of a threat it may pose, but say it is not yet considered a “variant of concern”.

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News reports out of the U.K. are linking an uptick in cases to a new variant that “could be 10 times more infectious than Delta,” yet Japan is seeing some of their lowest case counts since this time last year.

According to the latest official data out of the U.K., an increase in COVID-19 cases includes a genetically sequenced variant labelled AY.4.2 accounting for 6% of new cases.

Graph courtesy worldometers.info

The new strain, some call “Delta Plus”, is said to contain mutations that could give the virus “survival advantages” and could make it more contagious.

Experts are taking a close look at AY.4.2. to see how much of a threat it may pose, but say it is not yet considered a “variant of concern”.

Meanwhile, reports from Japan say a very different narrative where cases have mysteriously plummeted over the last two months.

Low case rates have not been the norm in Japan throughout the pandemic. However, despite the 2020 Summer Olympics being postponed to the summer of 2021 and Japan seeing some of the highest COVID-19 case rates in the world at times, the country has never implemented any full lockdowns.

Over the last two months, rates in Japan went from over 26,121 new cases recorded on August 22 to 494 new cases as of Monday.

Graph courtesy worldometers.info

Some are crediting the incredible turnaround to a late but rapid uptake in vaccinations. Others say it could have something to do with bad August weather in the latter part of the month that kept people home.

Officials are still trying to determine the cause of the huge decline in cases and experts are warning Japan could face another surge with the gradual waning of vaccine efficacy as well as heading into the colder winter months.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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News

EXCLUSIVE: Chu vows not to resign, apologizes and speaks out on allegations

Chu speaks out after allegations against him come to light.

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Embattled Calgary Councillor Sean Chu says he has no intention of resigning, but has apologized to a woman he had a sexual encounter with 24 years ago.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean any harm,” Chu told the Western Standard in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

City of Calgary officials confirmed Chu won the election race in Ward 4 by a mere 52 votes after allegations surfaced last week of his involvement in August of 1997 with a girl who was just 16 at the time.

“This was nothing but a political assassination,” said Chu.

Chu, who has represented Ward 4 since 2013, also fired back at some media reports which he claims were completely wrong.

Chu said he met the unidentified girl at a pub near Macleod Tr. and 94 Ave. S and not the Husky House restaurant downtown that some media had reported.

“Because it was a licensed establishment I thought the girl was at least 18 years old,” said Chu, who was in uniform with his partner at the time.

“I was single at the time and I thought some girl liked me.”

The Western Standard cannot confirm at this time if there is documentary evidence the encounter was at the Husky House or at the pub on Macleod Tr.

At some point in their interaction, Chu caressed the girl’s leg, an incident that later earned him a letter of reprimand on his file.

Chu said the girl seemed interested in him so when he was off duty he changed into civilian clothes and went back to the pub to meet the girl.

The evening continued with Chu and the girl eventually heading to his home.

Once there, the pair “started kissing and hugging, but there was no intercourse,” said Chu.

Chu admits there was “some touching underneath clothes”.

“She then said she wanted to go home and I drove her straight there.”

Chu denied media reports that a gun was produced during the evening at his home. He said he checked his service weapon in at the police’s traffic office when he signed off duty.

At one point Chu said he owned a shotgun, but denied that weapon was ever produced or shown in any way that night.

“If there had been a gun involved there would have been charges,” said Chu.

The Western Standard has not seen any documents that indicate the presence or absence of a firearm on the evening in question.

Chu said he does not drink alcohol, but added he didn’t know if the girl had been drinking.

After the incident, the girl reported the case to city police claiming she was sexually assaulted. That lead to nine years of investigations, court battles and appeals, with news of the case only leaking last week, days before the civil election.

There were never any sexual assault or weapons charges laid, and Chu says the letter of reprimand was the only discipline that came out of the entire process.

Documents obtained by the Western Standard and other media indicate that the woman claimed the whole process was a “cover-up.”

Chu served as a Calgary police officer from 1992 until he was elected in 2013.

Chu is now at the centre of a political storm with friends and supporters deserting him.

Premier Jason Kenney described the allegations as “appalling” but said he didn’t think there was any way for the province to remove a councillor who han’t been convicted under the Criminal Code.

He said he would be happy to meet with Mayor-Elect Jyoti Gondek to discuss the situation.

Kenney said as much of the legal documents are under seal, it’s up to Chu to prove his innocence.

Calgary-Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel Garner tweeted her disgust at the incident.

“I have supported Mr. Chu in the past, but firmly withdraw all such support in light of these reports. Believing women means walking the talk,” she tweeted.

“In light of the disciplinary action, as a result of inappropriate contact with a minor which has been reported by CBC Calgary, MP Rempel Garner is formally withdrawing her endorsement of Councillor Sean Chu and he is no longer a member of her Constituency Association.”

Rempel Garner tweet

Now Chu said he is looking at his legal options and a possible defamation suit over some of what he called the false reporting.

“I have always told the truth. My reputation is important to me and now my family is hurting,” said Chu.

Chu said he wouldn’t comment on remarks made by Gondek that she will try and remove him from council.

“I will continue to tell the truth at council and will be a fiscal hawk,” he said.

“The most important thing is I told the truth and the truth will prevail.”

It appears any bid to try and remove Chu would fail because he was not charged or convicted criminally.

Calgary police released a statement Monday about its investigation in 1997. It states:

“We want to reassure Calgarians that when this matter came to light in 1997 it was taken seriously by the Service and managed in accordance with the Police Act. This has been a complex legal matter with multiple complaints and investigations as well as appeals to the Alberta Law Enforcement Review Board. One of those decisions was overturned by the Alberta Court of Appeal. Ultimately, one allegation of misconduct was sustained through our internal disciplinary process.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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