Hello again everyone. It has been a while since I have communicated with you but I did want to let you know that our struggle for pension improvements still continues. Ralph Morris and I were very pleased to meet with many pensioners and others with an interest in our cause and still others who had personal issues to bring forward as we conducted a series of public meetings in many communities around the Province during 2010 and 2011. The interest and support for pensioners was overwhelming and we must continue to meet regularly in the communities where pensioners live and engage with pensioners one-to-one to ensure that our cause is not forgotten.
Ever since our election campaign, the Government has become more difficult to deal with, they refuse to change their position on pensions and have refused any further meetings with us. At this time, we are re-positioning ourselves by embracing other pension groups external to Government, involving federal retirees, and reaching out to citizens’ groups with similar concerns for the well-being of older persons. With the recent changes to the OAS benefit, suggestions that there may be additional changes to federal benefits, and hints at other changes to the provincial pension plan and health benefits for retirees, there is a need that for us to become and be seen as credible spokespersons on actions by the Government that are messaged as benefiting all seniors so that when the next election comes due, we will have built strong public support and credibility with the provincial electorate.
Some of the things that have happened since last I sent a message include:
1. Attendance at the pre-budget hearings wherein there was a heated exchange between Ralph Morris, Bob Langdon, the Minister of Finance, and those representing the Board of Trade and Independent Business.
2. Letters have been written to the newspaper, but these have not been published, and we wonder why???
3. We have written to all union leaders asking they not “sell out” pensions in collective bargaining and offering our advice should they wish it when pensions might be discussed.
4. We have held one meeting, which was very well attended, with external pensioner/seniors groups and there is a willingness to continue and expand this forum of information exchange.
5. NLPSPA will host another pensioners’ convention in September this year in Gander that is open to all pensioners, regardless of their employment. Any pensioner is welcome to attend. Registration details available at www.nlpspa.ca.
We cannot stop now. Our very future depends on us establishing strong local groups including all pensioners. NLPSPA and the Pensioners’ Coalition would like to build on the momentum, energy, and support which was started last year. It is our hope that a more permanent provincial network will be established so that we can continue to work together in the interest of all pensioners.
If you or someone else whom you might wish to nominate would like to be more actively involved with the Association as a community contact, participate on a committee, stand for election to the Board, or help in any other way, please contact the NLPSPA office at 709-754-5730 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I do hope all is well with you,
Newfoundland and Labrador Public Sector Pensioners’ Association
446 Newfoundland Drive
St. John’s, NL, A1A 4G7