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.