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The great pension debate

Re: How will Canadians retire, Editorials, Aug. 3).

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As a federal civil servant, I take issue that the Free Press and others assume I will retire with a pension that is cocooned in a "golden sanctuary."

After giving the best part of my life in service to Canada and Canadians, I will look forward to retiring, although it seems a pension of $16,000 a year is too rich for the rich. This is a pension I've paid close to 10 per cent per paycheque of my gross income into, a pension that comes from a solid fund that, contrary to popular belief, isn't running a deficit (it has assets of $76.1 billion with returns of 10.8 per cent, according to the Government of Canada's own website).

If groups like the Canadian Federation of Independent Business want to confiscate my investments and savings so their members can line their pockets, so be it, but don't shoo me away when I'm sitting outside their members' businesses begging for food or spare change.

Jamie Bonner

Winnipeg

ñº

Canadians will retire when they learn to depend on themselves rather than the government for their financial security or anything else. Canadians are heavily in debt with inadequate savings for retirement because the economic system we have chosen permits the government to control the purchasing power of our money through a central banking system run by the Bank of Canada. These central banks are creating a currency crisis the world over with their market manipulations of printing money and controlling interest rates, which explains the poor returns on investments today.

Of the many investment schemes supported by vested political interests, not one will take into account that a two per cent yearly inflation rate will destroy half the purchasing power of your money over a working person's career. The longer you are retired, the more that inflation rate impoverishes you. The first order of business is to return to a hard-money policy where the market sets the interest rates. That will end inflation immediately and put an end to government meddling in the economic affairs of the people.

Why are Canadians kept financially ignorant when the government has controlled education for the last 100 years? Canadians need to start with a basic education in classical economics in order to do their own financial planning if they want to retire.

Chris Buors

Winnipeg

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Re: Scale back public pensions (Editorials, Aug. 7). The editorial makes a kind of confused and inconsistent argument regarding defined-benefit pensions for public servants: They're unaffordable at the moment, but we can't claw back promised benefits for baby boomers, so the province should negotiate a two-tier benefits system where younger workers are forced to swallow even more instability in an already gloomy economy where they're lucky to even find a temporary minimum-wage McJob. Huh?

To say that because workers in the private sector less often negotiate defined benefit plans therefore young public servants should not expect one is illogical. Pensions should not be negotiated on this bizarre beggar-thy-neighbour argument. The fact of the matter is that every worker should be able to retire in dignity.

No senior should ever have to retire in poverty. Putting more money in the hands of retirees means more consumer spending and increased demand in our local economy, boosting growth. Budget deficits come and go with the boom-and-bust cycle of the economy and can be managed with responsible tax policy and without clawing back public spending, a key driver in our economy. It's a good thing the Manitoba government is ignoring your advice and doing just that.

Greg Furmaniuk

Winnipeg

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The Free Press asserts that Manitoba government workers shouldn't enjoy a pension plan substantially more generous than workers in the private sector.

This is based on two points: It's unsustainable and inequitable.

For the same two reasons, perhaps we need to broaden our horizons and address rapidly growing disparities in income and wealth.

I assume the Free Press is on board?

Ron Swaine

Winnipeg

White men only?

Re: Heavy hitters help resolution of M©tis claim (Aug. 1). Martin Cash describes the makeup of the blue-ribbon team appointed to advise the Manitoba Metis Federation on how to set up a legacy fund related to land claims. I applaud the Manitoba Metis Federation for reaching out to fellow Canadians to assist with this vital historical and present matter. But I am at a loss as to how or why David Chartrand chose the membership of this esteemed team. Although accomplished in their own right, no members are women, and as far as I know, none of these men is from the aboriginal or M©tis community.

If this process does not go as well as planned, will the M©tis lean on this as a causal factor?

Why is this committee not more representative of our Canadian culture? Are there no leaders in the M©tis community with these leadership and communication skills? Are we not trying to right a wrong caused by white men trying to assert that their beliefs and wants are the only ones that count?

MOIRA HONEY

Winnipeg

Equal rights for cyclists

Letter writer William Shaw (Aug. 3) says cyclists are the most dangerous people on the road. A simple look at traffic fatalities proves that false. And a friendly reminder: it is not your lane of traffic, nor is it my lane of traffic, it is our lane of traffic.

I agree that the money spent on the designated bike paths downtown was a waste, for they are unsafe and insufficient.

No other driver on the road is expected to sacrifice their safety for the convenience of others. Why are we making that demand of cyclists?

Alex Paterson

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 9, 2013 A8

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