CBC Pensioners Association, Maritime Region Newsletter

Volume 3, Issue 2                                                                    FALL, 2002


By Jack Brownell

I have just returned from our fall national meeting in Ottawa where the first item of importance was health care. Talks on creating a new SHCP plan are continuing with CBC and Mercers. It will be a managed health care scheme requiring the use of generic rather than designer drugs with a cap on physio and such things. Tier one will be a basic package and tier two will add some enhancements. Things are on hold now while the Corporation obtains a legal opinion on the risk it might be taking if it goes along with these changes.
We, in the Maritimes, underwent many of these modifications in our Blue Cross plan several years ago. To my knowledge no one thought of taking the CBC to court as we asked for the changes and we pay all the costs. We had hoped to have a new plan by the end of this year, but it’s now expected to take at least another year. I suggested it might be simpler to approach Blue Cross to be the carrier instead of Great West Life since, except for private room coverage, our plan has all the features required. That idea doesn’t stand a chance. Great West is in - Blue Cross is out.
Meanwhile Blue Cross has informed us of the new rates for 2003. There will be a 19% increase, which I am told, is only slightly more than the national average. The 2% increase in pension which you “might” get next year, will help a great deal. I mentioned in passing that we, in the real world, live on a fixed income.
In the past three years I have attempted to keep a number of issues on the table that would make improvements for our members. Space is limited so here is an abbreviated list. Improved COLA (presently capped at 2.7%) - interest on surplus distributions to date of payment, not retirement – an increase in life insurance ($4000 is a farce) - post retirement marriage pension entitlement – and increased survivor benefits.
In Ottawa a year ago I made a motion, directing our national executive to hire whatever actuarial or legal expertise was reasonable to study those items for cost and other implications. I hoped this would help prepare us for some meaningful action in the future. Six months later I learned that nothing had been done. The reason given was that it was too “early” and that our health care planning and administrative costs didn’t allow for other expenditures. At our meeting in May we had changed course on our health plan so we set aside money to pay for our actuarial and legal costs on the above items. And John O’Mara (the Nfld Rep) made another motion, similar to mine, asking the executive to commence action on these subjects.
Both of these motions received the approval of the Board of Directors. Still no action has been taken. The reason given was that Mercers and CBC have all the information so hiring outside experts is useless. It was argued that the surplus in the pension fund had diminished anyway. The directors discussed these items at considerable length and then listed them in order of priority. There were a number of proposals discussed and accepted by the board. This should improve the conduct of business at the national level. As a result I am optimistic that items you tell me are of prime importance to you will get the attention which they deserve.
On the Maritime scene, I have nothing but glowing terms to describe our activities and progress in the past year. We now have over 400 members. FANTASTIC!!
Another great moment in CBHT history was the publishing of “A Picture By Christmas” by Bill Harper.
We have begun selecting a number of “Field Reps” from various communities in the Maritimes. The first is Alf Walker from Sackville, N. B.
We continue to help our charities, and I’m looking forward to December 4th to the biggest and best Christmas dinner/social event of the decade. More on these items elsewhere in the news letter.
The Maritime board of directors continue to outdo themselves each season. They really deserve sincere thanks.
See you at the Christmas Dinner Dec 4th.
Take care of yourselves, and have a great Holiday.

Christmas Party

By Colin Cooper

Members and their spouses from around the Maritimes are invited to the association's third Christmas party, to be held on Dec. 4 at the Canadian Legion on Cunard Street in Halifax. We’ve made a few changes this year, in keeping with suggestions from our members.
We'll hold a reception from 11:30 to 1 p.m. followed by a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. We're encouraging everyone to wear name tags (you'll get one, together with a complimentary bar ticket for you and your spouse).
The reception and dinner are free to members, and the price for non-members is $20.00. We need to know how many will be attending, so the Legion Ladies can prepare sufficient food. If you wish to attend, phone or e-mail Audrey Sampson or Susan Altman.
Audrey 435-5048 - Susan 423-5259 -
Please let us know by Nov. 24 if you'll be joining us. There will be draws for prizes and we hope to have other surprises. There will be music at the reception. Last year we were delighted to have quite a few participants from outside Halifax. If you're traveling, why not check with a few of your former colleagues or their spouses who might want to attend? We look forward to seeing you on Dec.4th.

Successful Membership Drive

By Tom Pottie

The latest results are in and we now have 405 members, or 80% of the eligible membership – an increase of 10% since the spring. And more retirees are joining all the time.
My committee met in March and April to make plans for a membership drive. We decided to write to all non-members outlining the work of the Association, and including an enrolment form and a stamped return envelope.
Two weeks later on May 18th, the phone committee led by Keith Delong, swung into action. The results were excellent, proving that personal contact works wonders. We got over 20 new members in two weeks, and about 50 in all.
Welcoming letters were sent to new members. If any of you did not receive one, let me say here that on behalf of the Executive we appreciate your support and welcome you into the Association. In closing, I wish to thank my committee members and the phone committee members for their fine efforts.


“A Picture by Christmas” is the story of CBHT and the birth and growth of CBC TV in the Maritimes. The project started with an idea by the Halifax Pensioner’s Association to preserve some of the history of the early days of local TV. It was taken on by Bill Harper who turned it into a book manuscript, and had it published through Nimbus.
To help sales of the book, Jack Brownell is stocking it in all his Frame Plus Art stores in Metro and is willing to ship it anywhere in Canada. Jack offers a 20% discount to all CBC staff and pensioners. “A Picture by Christmas” would look good under the tree this year. The price is $20 if you want it shipped; or $16.22 at any of Jack’s stores.
Phone (902)-455-9762 Fax (902)-455-2764


Plans are underway to develop closer ties with members in most parts of the Maritimes. This has been one of the aims of Jack Brownell since he took over as our representative on the National Executive more than three years ago. His idea involves the appointment of “field representatives” in locations that don't qualify to be organized as “chapters” under the constitution.
A chapter requires a minimum of 25 members and only Halifax and Moncton meet that target at the moment. That means that locations from Fredericton to Sydney have no direct input even though they may have a dozen or more members.
One of the first communities to have its own representative is Sackville, N.B. Jack visited Sackville this spring when members in that area expressed a desire to know more about the Association, its plans and objectives. Alf Walker recently expressed a willingness to act as a field representative and he is the first one in the Region. Jack brought the matter to the Regional Executive in Halifax on Oct. 02, 2002, and the idea was approved in principle. The Executive unanimously passed a motion stating that, “the Regional Board recognizes the principles of having field representatives where there are a group of members.” At a future meeting the board will consider the minimum number of members required to qualify for a field representative. There are suggestions that the cutoff might be six.
The main purpose of the field rep would be to maintain contact with the executive in Halifax and encourage the two-way flow of information. He or she would collect the problems or concerns, ideas or suggestions of local members and pass them along for the attention of the regional and/or the national executive. Members throughout the region should give some thought to who they would like to represent them and then contact Jack Brownell with the information.


FLETCHER, Bernard Frederick, 79, died in hospital in Antigonish July 28, 2002. Born in Edmonton, Alta., he was a son of the late Frederick and Florence (Atwater) Fletcher. He was employed with CBC-TV for 26 years retiring as a lighting director. He enjoyed fishing and boating and playing his Gibson guitar. Bernie is survived by his wife, Eva; son, Dave White, Antigonish; a stepdaughter, three stepsons, several grandchildren and one great-grandson.

GAGNE, Paul, 82, of Lakeville, N.B., died in hospital in Moncton on June 8, 2002. Born in Riviere-du-Loup, Quebec, he was a son of the late Hermelegilde Gagne and Emilia Clouthier. He was a technician with Radio-Canada in Moncton and was a member of the Moncton Press Club. He is survived by his special friend Bernice Goguen, sons Gilles (Cathy) of Moncton, Claude (Jennifer) of Toronto; grandchildren Alex and Kaitlyn. He was predeceased by his former wife Rose-Aimée, and brothers Lionel and Harry.

REID, Robert Blair, 77, died at his home in New Maryland, N.B., July 24, 2002. He was born in Moncton, a son of the late Paul and Mary (Young) Reid. Bob was a well known radio and TV broadcaster having hosted the morning show, "Toast and Marmalade" and "Party Line" on CKCW Moncton in the 40s and 50s. He joined the CBC in Moncton in 1967 and later transferred to Fredericton. He is survived by his son Robert (Daphne), of Saint John, NB; and daughters Bonnie (Doug) Reid of California and Nancy Reid of New Maryland, NB; three grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

RING, Donald Walter Sinclair, 77, died Sept. 26, 2002, at his home in Dartmouth. He was the son of the late Percy and Emily (Waterfield) Ring of Dartmouth. Don served in the RCAF in the Second World War and worked as a set designer at CBHT for 32 years. He was a paddler, an avid fisherman, and was president of the Dartmouth Minor Hockey Association. He is survived by his wife, Jean (Horne), five sons, three daughters, nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren.


By Nil d'Entremont

Since spring, several more pensioners have signed up as dues paying members of the Moncton chapter and we welcome them to our association. Our chapter has been rather inactive over the summer and the next general meeting will be held at the end of November.
The celebration of 50 years of CBC TV reminds us of how TV developed at Radio-Canada, Moncton. Station CBAFT went on air in December, 1959. Apart from office staff and two film editors in the city, the entire operation was conducted at the transmitter site at Lutes Mountain, just beyond Magnetic Hill. The staff included 8 technicians, a technical supervisor, and three co-ordinating producers. Programming was almost entirely on film or Kine recordings shipped in from Montreal. Microwave time was borrowed from the English network for a daily 10-minute newscast from Montreal. The signal from the low power transmitter barely reached the Memramcook Valley, 30 kms away.
In February 1961, full hook-up to the French network coincided with a new transmitter with much better coverage. In 1968, a new 450-foot tower replaced the old one and a more powerful transmitter was installed. That same year, a one camera makeshift studio provided a 10-minute local newscast. In 1970, TV studios with full production capabilities became a reality. Today, CBAFT enjoys more local and regional programming than ever, including news and information, general interest and variety shows.
On Sept.14, employees, retirees, friends and special guests were invited to the Capitol Theatre for the taping of a special program commemorating 50 years of CBC TV and Radio-Canada programming in the Atlantic Provinces. It brought back many fond memories. In the lobby, one wall was covered with a montage of photos of events and various staff at work over the years. Georges Goguen, a graphic designer for many years, created this work of art. Georges still looks after the art gallery in the Radio-Canada building, which he started many years ago and is named in his honour.
We hope this brief history of TV at Radio-Canada, Moncton brings back memories for some and proves enlightening to others.


By Al Thurber

We celebrated Bob Reid's life early in August. The leader of the NB NDP, Elizabeth Weir, presented the eulogy. She was followed by Paddy Gregg, then by the pastor who said: "those are hard acts to follow!"
Sterling and Ann Gosman spend a lot of time following their daughter Measha Brueggergosman around. She is Canada's newest diva and at 26 has the credentials. During the gala in Toronto for the Queen and Prince Philip, Measha was one of the 'stars' who sang at the concert at Roy Thompson Hall.
Andy Chaisson is jockeying cars around the Maritimes for rental companies...Paul Dixon is doing freelance transmitter work for the French, religious and native community radio stations in Fredericton plus selling commercial real estate.
Ross Ingram is continuing to enjoy what he does best ...freelancing both in print and voice to radio stations on both sides of the border. He also publishes a community newspaper for the 'north siders' in Fredericton.
Charlie Adams continues to remodel his house and together with Norm Webb got himself 'boarded in' when replacing a shower stall tub combination. Nothing that a hole in the wall didn't fix! Charlie's pondering a trip to Florida this winter following a year's absence.
Joe Wood chases the little white ball around in the summertime and travels in the winter.
Al Thurber continues his interests in ham radio related volunteer jobs at EMO and committees of the City of Fredericton. He and his wife have had an extraordinarily busy season at their B&B. Al also enjoys his airplane when time and weather permit.
We don't get together as a group…it seems as if everyone is too busy. Charlie Adams, Paul Dixon, Norm Webb and Al Thurber did get to Sackville earlier in the spring when Jack Brownell made his presentation. It was good to meet others in the area.

Station Break is edited by Ivan Munn
French translation by Gerard Jolivet