D-C Liberals’ pension resolution adopted at Halifax convention

April 27, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Ed Crewson is very happy with the passage of the resolution he and his fellow members of the Dufferin-Caledon Federal Liberal Association took to Halifax to present to the party convention last weekend.

The resolution called for the protection of pensions in the event of a company’s being dissolved.

In an interview from his car, Mr. Crewson told the Citizen his personal history with the writing of the resolution. “My cousin was living in Etobicoke when Conrad Black closed  the Dominion Stores and took the pension fund,” leaving the dependent pensioners without their income]. “Because of this, my cousin’s neighbour committed suicide.”

Mr Crewson commented, “I don’t think people realize that these people depend on that pension they’ve paid into all those years. I hope this resolution will get incorporated and prevent it from happening in the future.”

The outline of the resolution, titled “Employee Pension Protection Strategy”, according to the Dufferin-Caledon Liberals’ press release, is as follows:

“The resolution’s adoption is a significant call to action. As official party policy, the federal government is called upon to consult with relevant stakeholders, consider options, and close the existing loopholes in federal bankruptcy and insolvency law that companies, like Sears Canada, have used to rein in on commitments they’ve made to fund employee pension plans.”

What it means is that the pensions that companies have encouraged or, indeed, demanded that their employees invest in and which funds the companies usually match or contribute, have, historically, been used (and, too often, abused) as investment capitol in the company itself or for other means of accessing moneys which are not actually borrowed. Up to now, in the event of bankruptcy, too often that pension money has been spent, mis-invested or otherwise dispensed, leaving pensioners seriously out of pocket. Too few employees could have invested in both a company pension and government funds. Hence, if the company pension goes, they have no savings.

These pensions are not gifts, not freebies, they are the weekly or monthly, usually obligatory, contributions and are, in fact, “deferred pay,” as the press release points out. 

The satisfaction of the resolution’s official adoption as party policy comes with the numbers of resolutions there were to thin out. There were 129 resolutions, of which only 15 were to be adopted. Among some of the others that were adopted were calls for  pharmacare, rural telecommunications infrastructure and affordable housing. 

Before being brought to the Liberal Party’s national convention, the resolution underwent strenuous consultation and “vetting” by registered Liberals at every level. The credit for its success was given, in part, to the very enthusiastic support by registered Liberal party members, not only attending the convention but also from across the country.

Mr. Crewson, principal broker and co-owner of Crewson Insurance Brokers, has been involved in local politics for many years. He was on the Shelburne Council for 26 years, 17 of which he was Mayor. He resigned from the post in 2014, having, as he said, “completed everything I intended to do.”

His affiliation with the Liberal Party led him to run as the Liberal candidate against David Tilson in 2015. He was not successful in the election but was second among five candidates in the traditionally Tory riding.

Given his enthusiasm for politics and the Liberal Party, will he consider running again in 2019?

“I’ve not ruled it out,” was his answer, with the condition, “… it’s important to be represented by the best possible candidate. If that person comes along, I won’t be running but I will support the right candidate.

“At the moment, I’ve not ruled it out.”

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