CBC PENSIONERS ASSOCIATION,
CBC Pensioners Association, Maritime Region Newsletter
Volume 3, Issue 4
By Jack Brownell
Usually in the fall issue of "Station Break" I devote most of my report to the National Meeting in October. This time, however, I will give you the bottom line on items that are important, but I'll let "CONTACT" bring you up to date on the details and I'll concentrate on smaller items, that I find important and gratifying.
The pension plan has done well recently as the market recovered from its earlier lows. Steve Cotsman, the managing director, tells me that the pension fund surplus has grown this year in spite of the fact that the CBC continued its contribution holiday.
Don Waterston, our president, has informed me that we have signed an extension of our Memorandum of Understanding with the CBC. This outlines the working relationship between the Association and the Corporation taking into consideration the basic needs of both parties.
Pierre Racicot has arranged several affinity programs that should be of benefit to our members. (More later)
I am proud that 80% of pensioners in the Maritimes are members of the Association, the best showing in the country. We are the only location that has a regular monthly meeting, and attendance is excellent averaging over 40 members. These meetings have been going on for more than 10 years. During that time we have contributed to a number of charities with money and volunteer labour.
I have great respect and gratitude for the members of the maritime executive who have worked long and diligently and who are responsible for such a successful organization. Our Christmas dinner is a great success, and our newsletter is always a great and informative read. I am particularly happy with the members in the region who make such meaningful contributions to the newsletter. Our contact and relationship with our members is great. We are able through our e-mail network, our newsletter, our phone committee and our chapter in Moncton to reach most members quite readily. All things being considered, I think we are doing very well.
However there are still areas where we can improve. I have asked members in major population centers, such as Fredericton, Sydney and Charlottetown to appoint a field rep in those communities who would act as a two-way communication link with our executive in Halifax. To date we have only one field rep in the region and Alf Walker of Sackville NB has done a fine job of representing pensioners from the International Service transmitter site.
There may be other ideas for improvements. If you have such an idea, please let me know. Meanwhile, I'll sit here happy and content, pleased and honoured to represent you in Ottawa, where I have an opportunity to serve and occasionally "stir the pot" hoping it will create some results which are beneficial to all of us in this fraternal organization.
I dearly hope that this newsletter finds you in good spirits and health and while I know you have experienced many a Christmas, I wish this one to be your best yet. Work on it OK?
BLUE CROSS PREMIUMS SOAR
By Jack Brownell
Health care was a major item at the National Meeting and the news is not great. Moncton Blue Cross premiums will rise by 32% on Jan 1/04, while the rest of Atlantic Canada go up by 12%. In recent years, with the help of Newfoundland, we've been able to subsidize the premiums. This was being done while we negotiated a new national plan that would include Moncton. This objective has been quite elusive. The Newfoundland board member felt that he could not subject his members to the extra costs for another term. I told him that I understood and thanked him for his considerable goodwill in the past.
Richard Leblanc of CBC benefits says he is going to contact all plan members in Moncton, with a view to making some changes. It would require that every member agree in writing. Edith Rice Cody of CBC Legal wants to send a questionnaire to both Blue Cross & Great West Life, to determine just how plan members feel. This following months and months of studying the CBC's liability.
She says that change is impossible unless most members agree. She chooses to ignore the fact that we in Blue Cross underwent many of the proposed changes without a single complaint. Anyway look for letters and questionnaires, while we undergo higher than necessary increases annually.
The only good news was a suggestion that GWL might take over administration of our plan, giving us the advantage of lower administration fees. This could lower costs in excess of 8%, and move us closer to joining the big group as soon as changes are completed for the new plan. The National Executive is very concerned that this information, may lead to expectations that we won't be able to fulfill. Don't get your hopes up. The only certainties are that the meeting took place, costs are rising and time is passing.
Members and their spouses from around the Maritimes are invited to the association's fourth Christmas party, to be held on Dec. 10 at the Canadian Legion at Hillcrest Street & Main Ave. in Fairview. We're in a different location this year, but for people in the Halifax Metro area, there is bus service right to the door.
There will be a reception from 12:00 to 1 p.m. followed by a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. We're encouraging everyone to wear nametags again this year. You'll get one, together with a complimentary bar ticket for you and your spouse. There will be music at the reception and there will be draws for prizes.
The reception and dinner are free to members, and the price for non-members is $20.00. 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 and their spouses who might want to attend?
We need to know who's coming by Nov. 30 so we can advise the Caterer. If you plan to attend phone Susan Altman at (902) 423-5259 or Email Louise Fredericks at email@example.com
We look forward to seeing you on Dec.10th.
MEETINGS MOVE TO FAIRVIEW
After 11 years of monthly meetings at the Canadian Legion on Cunard Street we found ourselves homeless in November after the building was sold and closed.
A committee consisting of Tom Pottie, Bert Skinner, and Bill MacKenzie checked out a number of suggested sites in the Metro area and recommended the Canadian Legion in Fairview.
It's located at Hillcrest St. and Main Ave. There's lots of parking and a caterer to provide lunch. We held our first meeting there in November and members seemed pleased with the accommodations. A motion that we continue to meet there was approved unanimously.
FOSTER: Dorothy Mary Foster, 87, died on June 18, 2003, in Northwood Centre in Halifax. She was the wife of Al Foster and mother of Jacquelynn "Jackie" Heaps of Santiago, Chile, and Alyson "Sally" McNeill of Ottawa. She is also survived by a grandson, and three great grandchildren. The funeral service was held at St. Mary's Basilica with interment in Mount Olivet Cemetery.
LATTER: Charles David "Chuck" Latter, 68, of Dartmouth died July 7, 2003, at the VG Hospital in Halifax. He is survived by his wife, Irene, a son, Mark, a daughter, Jennifer, and a grandson, Jackson Latter, Toronto, as well as a brother, two nephews, and 2 stepchildren. Chuck joined CBC Television in Halifax in 1955 and retired an award winning lighting director in 1991. The funeral service was held on July 10 from the Walker Funeral Home in Dartmouth.
MASON: Patricia Ann "Pat" Mason, 65, of Shad Bay, N.S. died on July 17, 2003, in the New Halifax Infirmary, QEII. She was predeceased by her husband, Bob; son, Stephen; sister, Elaine; and grandson, Sam. She is survived by daughters, Janice (Jean) Lalancette, Lynda Mason (Paul), all of Prospect Bay; Kathleen (Brent) Nelson, Sackville; sons, Peter (Debbie), White's Lake; Matthew (Asiah), Columbia, Md.; Kevin (Joyce), Ottawa; and 15 grandchildren.
By Jack Brownell
At the National meeting in May, we discussed a variety of affinity programs for pensioners. Pierre Racicot was asked to contact suppliers in half a dozen insurance-type fields. He returned to the October meeting with a dossier of proposals, which he had analyzed and compared. He then made a series of recommendations and reviewed them with us.
I want to stress that Pierre is and has been a tremendous asset to the Association. In this instance, he provided a service that would have cost us tens of thousands of dollars. His expertise in this and many other areas has been invaluable to us.
Based on his findings we accepted three of his recommendations. We tabled the others until after we see what changes we achieve to our health plan. Here are the three companies and the products we are recommending.
1) Home and Auto Insurance - Morris & MacKenzie
2) Life Insurance - Johnson Inc. and Manulife
3) Travel Health Insurance - Trent Health-Sante (Note: With this One, all members of the Association will have a complimentary 2 days of travel coverage on each trip made.)
We believe these products, which we are endorsing, to be on balance the best obtainable and I strongly recommend that you have a look at them when you are in the market. You will be sent the appropriate literature and details in due course. I also recommend that you check with other suppliers to be sure that your particular circumstances are met as economically as possible. The only caveat: compare apples to apples, and all things being equal, please patronize our supplier of choice.
Items like Long Term Care and Accident Insurance were left on the back burner for now.
By Maurice Olsen
High on the agenda of our latest general assembly, was the business of rising Blue Cross Health premiums. Christmas is the time of the year when Blue Cross demands its goodies from CBC/SRC retirees, by way of breathtaking rate hikes. Is CBC/SRC group coverage for us about to self-destruct?
Over the last three years, our premiums have skyrocketed to the tune of 77% and Moncton Chapter subscribers are now paying $265.68 monthly for “family” membership. The group plan could quickly price itself out of reach. CBC/SRC gave a ho-hum answer to a protest petition we sent on the subject. Georges Smith, senior V.P., Human Resources Ottawa, replied that our premiums are high, because they are tracking high insurance pay-outs.
(We have just learned that Moncton's Blue Cross premiums will increase by 32% for 2004).
Concerning the CBC/SRC's decision not to redistribute the Pension fund surplus, Ronald Cormier suggested that our National Association should consider legal proceedings against the Corporation. A case might be made that the surpluses belong to the Fund's membership, morally and legally.
Members then welcomed Dean Brideau, financial planner for the Caisse Populaire Beauséjour Credit Union. He gave a short presentation on the importance of establishing a will and doing some basic estate planning.
About 25 members attended the meeting which was held at the Moncton Press Club, in late October.
Fellow pensioner, Georges Goguen was recently fêted at a gala banquet held in his honor at Webster House, Shediac, N.B. On this occasion also, he launched his latest show of 70 works produced over the last 14 months. Former set and graphics designer for CBAFT TV, Moncton, Georges is a well-known and respected painter. A group of fifty-five guests gathered to underscore his considerable role in showcasing the works of visual artists in the Maritimes.
Thirty years ago, Georges founded the “Mini-Galerie” at the Moncton CBC/SRC station, which was renamed the Georges Goguen gallery a few years after he retired, whose director he remains. Hundreds of artists from all over the Maritimes and Quebec have done shows, and some famous names like Yvon Gallant and Raymond Martin did their first exhibitions at the “old” gallery. Our congratulations to Georges for his “long-time” achievements.
FOOD BANK COLLECTION
The CBC Food Bank drive takes place this year on Friday, Dec. 12. The Pensioners have agreed to collect contributions outside the Radio Room from 7-9 am.
Susan Altman is co-ordinating our efforts. If you can help, please call Susan at 423-5259.
END OF THE FALL 2003 ISSUE