THUNDER BAY – Ontario NDP candidates Judith Monteith-Farrell for Thunder Bay-Atikokan and Lise Vaugeois for Thunder Bay-Superior North, threw their support behind the improved pensions message being discussed in Thunder Bay Friday.
NDP MP Scott Duvall visited Thunder Bay to discuss his proposed legislation to protect pensions. The candidates met with Duvall today at the entrance of Thunder Bay’s former Sears building.
Monteith-Farrell says it is important that the government hold companies accountable for their responsibilities to their employees.
“Sears hurt the security of those retirees that spent years building the company. It doesn’t have to be this way. There is action government can take to make sure that doesn’t happen — it just takes political will,” said Monteith-Farrell.
When Sears declared bankruptcy, workers who were owed severance and pensions were pushed to the back of the line. According to current laws, companies use the last of their funds to pay banks and other big creditors, first, leaving workers’ pensions for later — if there’s anything left. In that situation, people often lose the pensions they spent their lives paying into.
Vaugeois said pension protection is about giving workers and seniors what they’re owed.
“The people of Thunder Bay who worked at Sears, and gave their working lives to the company, paid into their pensions. If you’re a worker who paid into your pension plan for years, your pension is not a gift, it’s money that belongs to you,” said Vaugeois. “After a life-time of work, seniors deserve to retire with dignity. It’s just wrong that international banks get paid first, at the expense of the seniors who need that money.”