Earlier in my broadcasting career, I worked full-time for CBC in Winnipeg, hosting local radio programs. This week I had occasion to visit some of my former colleagues at a retirees lunch. There were plenty of smiles, and almost spontaneous applause for an update on pensions and other benefits. Most who have worked in the private sector of Canadian broadcasting have been on their own when it came to taking care of the golden years, but the CBC has been a very different story.
Since 1961, the public broadcaster has taken very good care of their own, with management help in recent years from a Toronto company called Morneau Shepell. Yes, that’s the little human resources outfit that grew under the leadership of our current finance minister. Thousands of CBC retirees enjoy a defined benefit pension plan which is as solid as the proverbial Rock of Gibraltar.
No doubt they’re thankful that they did not choose a career at Sears. As the retail economy has gone south in Canada and elsewhere, current and former employees of Sears have found that promises of pensions and other benefits were the first to be broken. Surely those we send to Ottawa will make sure that justice is done for Canadian seniors? Fat chance.
Both the Trudeau Liberals and Stephen Harper’s gang who drove the bus for the previous ten years, have done next to nothing to prevent companies like Sears from giving retirees the shaft. When it comes time to close the doors and walk away, pensioners are at the bottom of the list when they divvy up what’s left.
As was the case when they stuck a fork in what was left of Nortel in 2009, the corporate biggies, especially the banks, are first in line.
Tony Clement had a chance to choose a different path when he served in Harper’s cabinet, but it was out of the question. After all, where would investment dollars be found for Canada’s private sector, if it was known someone selling underwear for not much more than minimum wage, was ahead of them at the cashier’s wicket at the end of the day.
Is this really Canada? Sometimes it sounds more like the business world of Bangladesh.
I’m Roger Currie.