September 18, 2017
Fight for Security in Retirement!
Defined Benefit Pensions for All!
Canada's Pension Regime
Needs a New Direction to
Guarantee the Rights of All
• Defined Benefit Pensions for All! Canada's
Needs a New Direction to Guarantee the Rights of All -
• Take Action to Stop Anti-Pension Bill C-27!
- Louis Lang
• Finance Minister's Conflict of Interest with
His Target Benefit Plan
- Ottawa Committee for Pension Security
• Bill C-27 -- An Attack on Workers' Pensions
- Ottawa Committee
for Pension Security
Fight for Security in Retirement!
Defined Benefit Pensions for All!
Regime Needs a New Direction to Guarantee the Rights of All
Those who employ workers either privately or through
machine are not acting responsibly with regards to ensuring equilibrium
in the social relation between the working
class and employers. Workers must have peace of mind that their needs,
well-being and standard of living will be sustained throughout their
lives from birth to passing away under all
The actions of the ruling
elite are leading the working class to
believe that those in control of the means of production and the state
not want equilibrium in the social relation. The use
of the state police powers of the Companies'
(CCAA) and changes in legislation to attack the
defined pensions of
workers, including federal and other public
sector workers, and the refusal of the government to strengthen the
Canada and Quebec Pension Plans to guarantee defined pension benefits
for all are stark evidence of the refusal to
uphold rights and ensure equilibrium in the social relation.
Defined pension benefits that guarantee a cultured
living until passing away are a necessary component of modern life. The
attacks of the ruling elite on defined benefit
pensions and their refusal to extend them to all is a major factor
causing disequilibrium in society. Workers want equilibrium in the
social relation with employers but the other pole in the
dialectic needs to come to their senses and recognize the rights of the
working class as inviolable, including importantly defined benefit
pensions for all.
If the ruling elite refuse equilibrium in the social
on the recognition of the rights of all, including the right to defined
benefit pensions for all, they prove themselves unfit
to rule. Within a condition of disequilibrium and refusal of the ruling
elite to extend defined benefit pensions to all and even attack those
that exist, a new direction is required that deprives
the ruling elite of their power to deprive the people of their rights,
a new direction that opens a path forward to modern relations of
production within a nation-building project that vests
sovereignty in the people and guarantees their rights without exception.
Take Action to Stop Anti-Pension Bill C-27!
Protest in Ottawa against Bill C-27, May 5, 2017.
The Ottawa Committee for Pension Security has issued a
call for Canadians to demonstrate against Bill C-27, the Liberal
government's anti-pension legislation. The demonstration in Ottawa will
be held on September 18, at the office of Finance Minister Bill
Morneau, while another will take place the same day at his Toronto
constituency office. The Committee's call to demonstrate continues the
determined struggle of public sector workers and their allies to defend
the pensions they have and demand Canadian standard defined benefit
pensions for all.
The demonstrations at
Minister Morneau's offices on September 18
coincide with the reconvening of the House of Commons. The people
demand the withdrawal of the Liberal
anti-pension bill. The Liberal plan to eliminate public sector defined
benefit pensions will result in the loss of secured pension
benefits. The proposed target-benefit pensions (TB plans) will
increase the amount workers are forced to put into pension savings,
directly lowering their disposable wages. TB plans, which are similar
to the defined contribution plans currently the rage
amongst private corporations, lessen the amount those corporations put
into their workers' pension plans thereby raising their profits, a
factor widening the gap in social wealth between the
working class and the imperialist empire-builders.
The Ottawa Committee for Pension Security also
highlights the clear
conflict of interest concerning Finance Minister Morneau. It points to
the high level of private profits that will
flow from the proposed TB plans to pension consulting and management
firms such as his family-owned Morneau Shepell Company. Those companies
are hired to implement the TB plans as workers' pension plans and gain
from the destruction of defined benefit pensions.
Bill C-27, An Act to
amend the Pension Benefits Standards Act,
1985, was introduced in the House of Commons by Minister Morneau
October 19, 2016. The bill creates a
"framework for the establishment, administration and supervision of
target-benefit plans" for federally regulated workers in the private
sector, as well as Crown Corporations. Currently,
there are over 300 defined benefit plans in the federal sector
covering 489,000 workers with $100 billion in assets.
Bill C-27 would allow employers, such as Canada Post,
the existing defined benefit plans and replace them with TB plans. This
would reduce the money employers
contribute to their employees' pension plans and eliminate their
obligation to maintain and provide a guaranteed level of benefits to
retirees. With TB plans, employers' legal requirement to fund, maintain
and guarantee pension plan benefits is
The bill has been stalled at first reading in the House
of Commons. Since this spring retirees and unions in the public and
have actively organized to stop the government's
attacks. Still, the government has ignored the demands of workers, has
refused to withdraw the bill, and is waiting for an opportunity to move
it into second reading and push it through
Parliament. Organized workers are just as determined to stop this
attack on their right to a secure retirement. Join with them in their
resistance to these attacks on the right of Canadians to a
secure retirement! Attend the demonstrations September 18!
Conflict of Interest Complaint
The Ottawa Committee for Pension Security has announced
to lay a conflict of interest complaint with the Office of the Conflict
of Interest and Ethics Commissioner against
Finance Minister Morneau. The Committee will submit evidence to the
Commissioner, Mary Dawson, obtained through the Access to Information
Act showing, "Mr. Morneau still indirectly
owns 2,066,489 common shares in Morneau Shepell worth about $32 million
through a numbered company in Alberta. Morneau also holds another
42,186 common shares worth $474,000
in AGF Management Limited, an investment firm."
The Ottawa Committee for Pension Security finds
suggestion that his
change from sole ownership of his Ontario and Alberta numbered
companies to joint ownership with his spouse
as the President and Director, somehow relieves him of any conflict of
interest. The Commissioner will be asked to rule on the matter.
Also, in 2012, Morneau Shepell acquired the Canadian
benefits administration practice of Mercer Canada, the actuarial firm
used by Canada Post. This Crown Corporation
has the largest federal defined benefit pension plan with 55,000 active
37,000 retirees. Morneau's Bill C-27 is a direct attack on the postal
workers' defined benefit pension plan and their security in
Liberal Bill C-27 Directly Targets Postal Workers
A key unresolved issue
during the last round of negotiations
between the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and Canada Post was the
demand of the corporation for the elimination of
the defined benefit plan to be replaced by a defined contribution plan
the Liberal's TB plan. Under instructions from the Trudeau cabinet, a
short 18-month contract was approved without
any changes to the defined benefit pension plan. Awaiting the Liberals'
changes, Canada Post abandoned their demands to eliminate the defined
for the time being in the face of the
sustained resistance of postal workers.
Postal workers know that their pension plan is not safe
police powers of the state are being mobilized to attack their defined
pension plan through Bill C-27. Negotiations for a new
collective agreement are to begin in November or soon thereafter. If
the Liberal government uses their majority to force Parliament to adopt
Bill C-27, the issue of pensions will be removed
from the negotiations. Workers will have no say in the kind of pensions
they have or need, as the police powers of Bill C-27 will replace
negotiations with a state dictate. The government
through Bill C-27 will direct Canada Post to unilaterally replace the
defined benefit plan with a TB plan. Morneau Shepell and other similar
will make windfall profits managing the
implementation of the TB plan. Canada Post will reduce the value it
contributes towards postal workers' retirement, and postal workers will
lose their defined pension benefits that will be
replaced with uncertain "targeted" benefits.
The working class cannot and will not allow these
their pension security to pass. Workers are determined to stop this
assault on their rights by private corporate interests
and their flunky representatives in government and state-organized
enterprises. The theft of what belongs to workers by right must be
stopped! It is up to workers themselves to organize and
resist this attack on their rights!
The struggle to defend the defined benefit pensions
have now and extend Canadian standard defined pension benefits to
all is an important contribution to reversing the
retrogressive conditions the imperialist empire-builders are imposing
on workers and the entire society.
Defeat Anti-Pension Bill C-27!
Hands Off Our Pensions!
Defend the Defined Benefit Pensions We Have!
Defined Benefit Pensions for All!
Governments Must Guarantee the Right of All to a Secure Defined
and Retirement at a Canadian Standard!
Finance Minister's Conflict of Interest with
His Target Benefit Plan
The July 12 response from the Director of the
Information Privacy Division of the Department of Finance was as
follows: "In accordance with section 10(1)(a) of
the [Access to Information Act],
a thorough search, no records
exist in the department of Finance Canada concerning this request."
The request to the Commissioner, under section 25(2)
27(8)(1) of the Access to
Information Act was "has there been a public
declaration and divestment either by sale
taken place or that a trust exists by Finance Minister Bill Morneau for
"Insider trading reports at the last filing September
that Mr Morneau still indirectly owned 2,066,480 common shares in
Morneau Shepell worth about $32 million, through a
numbered company in Alberta. Morneau also held another 42,186 common
shares in AGF Management Limited, an investment firm, worth about
Public Registry on Morneau's Conflict of Interest
The following information was obtained from the public
The Office of the Information Commissioner from the Last Annual Review
completed on June 21, 2017 on Bill
Morneau Member of Parliament Toronto Centre:
"Morneau received income
from Morneau Shepell and from
Management as well as dividend and interest income from investments in
the last 12 months. Morneau reported he
will only receive dividend and interest income from investments for the
next 12 months.
"Morneau reported joint ownership with 2070689 Ontario
1193536 Alberta Limited, an investment holding company located in
"Under the public declaration of agreed compliance
29) in order to prevent a conflict of interest situation from arising
and to avoid the perception, Morneau reported
in 2016/02/14 the following: Assets promissory note from the Morneau
McCain family Trust Trusts I am a potential (actual). On the same date
he reported that this public declaration of
assts is no longer applicable "Sole ownership of 2070689 Ontario
Limited, a holding company located in Toronto, Ontario."
"Morneau reported his spouse was now the President and
the 2070689 Ontario Limited and of 1193536 Alberta Limited. He reported
for the last 12 months and for the next
12 months his spouse's income from 1193536 Alberta Limited as well as
dividend, interest and capital gains income from investments."
Morneau's Agreed Compliance Measures
"In order to prevent a conflict of interest situation
and to avoid the perception of preferential treatment, the Conflict of
Interest and Ethics Commissioner has determined
that a conflict of Interest screen is necessary to assist with my
obligation to abstain from any participation in any matters or
decisions, other than those of general application, relating to
Morneau Shepell Inc. or its subsidiaries, affiliates and associates.
"Accordingly, a conflict of interest screen has been
and will be administered by my Chief of Staff to ensure that I will
abstain from participation in any discussions or
decision-making process and any communication with government officials
in relation to any matter or issue forming part of the subject matter
of the conflict of interest screen."
Bill C-27 Target Benefit Plan Benefits Actuarial Firms!
Finance Minister Bill Morneau's firm Morneau Shepell
wrote in a
submission to the federal government that TB plans entail "excessive
operating costs" (which of course, flow to
firms like Morneau Shepell). These actuarial firms would be big winners
if Defined Benefit pension plans were converted to TB plans, which
require more frequent and complex services
from actuarial and pension consulting firms like Morneau Shepell.
A Further Indirect Conflict of Interest by Finance
Minister Bill Morneau!
In 2012 Morneau Shepell Inc. acquired the Canadian
benefits administration practice of Mercer Canada. The fact that Mercer
Canada is the actuarial firm used by Canada
Post which has the largest Crown Corporation pension plan (55,000
active members and 37,000 retirees) that would be affected by Bill
Morneau's Bill C-27 is a major problem. Morneau's
2012 acquisition of part of the Mercer Canada pension administration
practice in itself should be a conflict of interest when it comes to
his target benefit plan!
Glen McGregor of Postmedia was the first to
question Morneau's conflict of interest.
McGregor's Postmedia article published on October 28th
"Morneau's situation recalls Paul Martin's continued ownership of a
multinational shipping company while
serving as Finance Minister." Under the Conflict of Interest Act,
would be expected to either sell off his assets or place them in a
blind trust before joining the cabinet -- though the
latter option could raise the same concerns as Martin's arrangement
with CSL, which critics assailed as "a Venetian blind trust."
Morneau Shepell employs two lobbyists with Toronto
lobby the government of Canada related to employee assistance
contracts, disability management, and pensions
for the federal public servants.
McGregor as well reported in February 2014, Morneau
suddenly as chair of the board of the C.D. Howe Institute after
criticizing the Harper government's economic record at
the Liberals national convention. It may be of interest to hear
Morneau's response now that the C.D.Howe Institute on April 4th 2017 is
calling for the Liberal government to have the
new proposed expanded portion of the CPP be a Target Benefit Plan as
opposed to having it the same as the existing CPP Defined Benefit Plan.
Bill C-27 "Target Benefit Plan"
Trudeau Must Stop the Attack on Defined Benefit Pension Plans and Live
up to His 2015 Pre-Election Promise!
On July 23, 2015, the Member of Parliament for Papineau
wrote, "As we
head into election 2015, I would like to reiterate my position [that]
changes to existing Defined Benefit
Pensions (DBPs) should be made on a going-forward basis. DBPs, which
have already been paid for by employees and pensioners, should not
retroactively be changed into TBPs."
Finance Minister Bill Morneau's Bill C-27 Target
is tainted with his past involvement with Morneau Shepell. Morneau's
"conflict of interest screens" (as opposed to the
Venetian blind trust of Paul Martin) that Morneau set up to be
administered by his Chief of Staff regarding Morneau Shepell does not
pass the smell test. Morneau's change from sole
ownership of his Toronto company and his Alberta numbered company to
ownership with his spouse as the President and Director of these
companies is not all that reassuring that it
relieves the conflict of interest. Finance Minister Morneau's Bill C-27
Target Benefit Plan should not be adopted.
Bill C-27 -- An Attack on Workers' Pensions
Finance Minister Bill
Morneau's Bill C-27 would allow
rob workers of the retirement security they have already bought and
paid for! The target benefit plan model
proposed in Bill C-27 would allow the elimination of the guarantee of
defined benefit pensions and cuts to your promised pension. This is
why, during the 2015 federal election campaign,
candidate Justin Trudeau formally condemned the Harper government
proposals to do the same thing:
"Taking away benefits
from seniors that had been earned and
accrued over the years, retroactively, is unacceptable...and it's wrong
in principle." -- Justin Trudeau pre-election
interview, Fall 2015
Meanwhile, the unnecessary additional administrative
oversight the bill would create will translate into a financial
windfall for pension
consulting firms like Morneau Shepell -- Minister
Morneau's family company. This is an obvious and outrageous conflict of
interest and attack on long-established workers' pension rights. Even
the Globe and Mail has
pointed out the
money to be made by the Morneau consultants from the "more complex"
(and less secure) pension design proposed in Bill C-27:
"Investors looking to
capitalize on growing work
and a changing pension landscape are snapping up shares of human
resources consultant Morneau Shepell
Inc.... Continuing pension reforms across Canada are poised to benefit
the company; as pensions get more complex, more companies are relying
on providers such as Morneau to design,
develop and administer the plans." -- Globe and Mail, June 3, 2014
In fact, some journalists have already asked whether
conflict of interest would force him to "step aside" from cabinet
decisions involving pension regulation:
" Bill Morneau,
touted for Trudeau cabinet
post, moving to nix potential conflicts from his corporate holdings
"... the size
of his company and its business
the federal government could force Morneau to step aside from the wide
range of cabinet decisions on issues affecting
Morneau Shepell, such as pension regulation, insurance and taxation."
-- Glen McGregor,
Postmedia News I, October 28, 2015
None of this stopped Morneau from introducing Bill
C-27, a measure
that would not only undercut the security of existing defined benefit
pensions of federal jurisdiction workers but it
does so in a way that will clearly benefit his own family company.
There is still time to stop Bill C-27! Join the Ottawa
for Pension Security to defend pensions over profits on Monday,
September 18th at noon at 90 Elgin Street, Minister
Morneau's office, the headquarters of Bill C-27. Retirees, union
activists, and rank and file workers will be there to demand the
withdrawal of this Bill, and its replacement with improved
pensions and retirement security for everyone.
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further updates and clips of our recent actions at the Prime
Minister's Office and our Townhall.
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