LETTERS: Way to go Harper

If the PM wants to show solidarity towards veterans and active members, start by reversing the policy of pension rollbacks.

So Stephen Harper wants to show his solidarity towards our fine fighting forces by spending God knows how much taxpayer’s money to take a day trip aboard a Canadian destroyer. Big deal.

If the Prime Minister wants to show solidarity towards military veterans and active members, he can start by reversing the policy of pension rollbacks. What do I mean, you ask?

When a government employee retires (I’m not sure if this is also in the private sector), they receive a pension and a benefit called a “bridge”, which they get until age 65. The bridge then ceases and monthly pension payments continue.

I noticed an annotation at the bottom of my last military pension statement which reads: “$332.00 is the bridge benefit portion of your monthly annuity that is payable to age 65 or until entitled to a CPP/QPP disability pension. At that time, the indexation of your benefit applicable to this portion will also cease to be paid.”

I called the pension board and asked them to explain this to me. Basically, if I had opted to take the bridge until age 65, not only would I have lost the $332 per month, but I would actually have to start paying it back. This is not a “bridge”. This is what is called a “loan.” If I had taken this bridge today (I retired from the military in 1998), by age 65 I would have collected roughly $35,000. If I then have to start paying it back until I pass away, if I live to be 90 I will have repaid over $100,000.

Way to go, Stephen Harper. Thanks for your appreciation.

Mark Billesberger

Penticton