Saturday, March 15, 2014

Conservative policies have real effects on real people

And I’m mad as hell about it.

Let’s start with the federal government’s genius plan to postpone retirement until age 67. This is a slap in the face to all the people who worked hard their whole lives and made significant contributions to the national pension plan only to be told that they have to wait another 2 years to get an unreduced pension. The excuse is that the current plan is unsustainable. I find it interesting that nobody outside of the government agrees with that prognosis, but there it is. Assuming that it is true, why should the people who did their part – the contributors, have to pay for the mistakes of the government? They’re the ones who are managing the money. They should be the ones to bear the responsibility for fixing the problem. No matter what the government says, increased contributions and better pension management is the answer going forward. Imagine if a corporation tried this nonsense. Oh, we're sorry Hal, you can't retire Friday, you have to work another 2 years so that we can afford to pay your pension. Not. Going. To. Happen.

Next, we turn our attention to the Alberta provincial government. Their quick adoption of regulating the Pharmacy Technician trade at the behest of the Alberta College of Pharmacists is a mess. Countless careers destroyed through lack of grandfathering and a forced education and testing process that even senior technicians failed in droves. Would you spend $6000+ on a process to reclaim your right to continue working in your trade when Alberta Health Services won’t even cover your expenses or offer a raise to account for the increased responsibilities and legal and professional fees? Well, that's what hundreds of people are going through.

Then we have their solution to the shortfall in the provincial pension for public service workers. Sorry, but you’ll have to work longer to retire as well. You don’t get a say and you don’t get to opt out either. We can’t manage your pension money and you’re the ones who will have to suffer for it.

What really irks me is that the people making these decisions are not affected by them in any way. Their gold-plated pensions and exit packages guarantee they’ll be making out like bandits.

Meanwhile, my wife struggles to not only successfully complete the hardest education she’s ever had to endure just to keep her job and eventually earn her pension, but she now has to work longer to get that pension unless she’s willing to take even less per month as a payment. Not just one pension – every pension. No choice. No alternate plan. I won’t even mention what all of this is doing to her physical and mental health.

I want a government, at both levels, that looks after my needs. I realize that there are a lot of people in this country that feel their government does too much for its citizens. I don’t think it does enough. I feel that my government is more interested in punishing its citizens (tougher laws, more prisons) than helping them (pension reductions, EI reductions, service reductions, veteran benefit reductions). To make matters worse, they don’t even lead by example. While they want us to do more with less, they continue to pad their own pockets and make no real sacrifices whatsoever. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of it.

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