Let me tell you about a contrast I noted between the articles by Hugh Windsor and Georgie Binks (“Two degrees above zero, ”Issue #2, 2010, p. 60). But first, a little story.
During the “Dirty ‘30s” there was a man with very little education who landed a job as a postman. There was another man with little education who scurried from one job to another when his services working with his hands and innate intelligence were no longer needed. He was often out of work.
The postman did not make a lot of money, but at least he had secure employment and he was quite content with a regular pay-cheque and the gifts received at Christmas time from the households to which he delivered mail. He was a public servant, while the other man worked in the private sector. He and his family had many an anxious time.
I caught something Hugh Winsor wrote on page 29: "Wouters got a taste of one of the big challenges of his new job: the large-scale renewal of the senior Civil Service, owing to the impending demographic tsunami. Baby boomers are reaching retirement age with a vengeance, with 9,700 qualifying this year, many of them in the senior cadre. Indeed, half of the current executives in the public service will be able to retire by 2012."
My understanding is that these individuals will all have guaranteed pensions with inflationary increases assured. They have gold-plated, defined benefit pension plans. How old do you have to be to retire in the Public Service?
My understanding is also that 70 per cent of Canadians do not have such gold-plated pension plans. Let's call them the bulk of the taxpayers.
And what about George Binks? What is her future and that of many others like her in all walks of private enterprise?
I implore people such as Wayne Wouters, Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page, and other bright Queen's grads to work hard and be in the forefront of bringing more fairness to our democracy. It seems that politicians do consult with such people as civil service employees.
I have an uneasy feeling that a situation like the one in Greece might be looming here in Canada, although admittedly I am not an economist.
Gord Conder, Arts'54