CBC Pensioners Association, Maritime Region Newsletter

Volume 3, Issue 5                                                                                         Spring, 2004


By Jack Ingram

Acting in Chairman Jack’s absence I have the privilege of updating you on activities over the past number of months.
Jack IngramOur relocation to the Fairview Legion appears to have taken place with a minimum of upheaval. Attendance is down slightly, but nothing of concern.
Your national board of directors, after having made the decision to obtain legal advice regarding the disposition of the pension plan surplus, ran into some confusion in one of our Regions that needed some clarification.
This led to a call for a special meeting that coincided with the February blizzard that closed our airport. Unable to attend in person, Ivan Munn expressed our views verbally. The results of the meeting were positive and our legal advisor was told to proceed.
The spring national meeting took place in Toronto. May 1, 2, and 3rd. John McKay attended as our representative and expressed the Maritime position on a number of items.
One of the major positions of this Region has been the need to improve benefits for surviving spouses from the present 60 per cent.
The board was advised that the surplus in the Pension Plan is in excess of $300-million, and we pensioners want our share of it.
The Board at that meeting also was advised that there would be further information coming on affinity insurance plans.
Action on the high cost of supplementary health coverage was discussed. This is a complex and sensitive issue and must be dealt with very carefully. One thing that will be done is the administration of our Blue Cross plan will be taken over by Great West Life to reduce such charges.
Our membership nationally has increased and that’s good because our strength is in our numbers. The CBC will listen to us more intently as we show that we represent the majority of the Pensioners. By the way, the Maritimes has the highest percentage ratio of all the Regions.


Susan Altman

Our annual Christmas Party was held Dec. 10 at the Canadian Legion in Fairview.

There was an excellent turnout with 150 people in attendance.

Susan Altman headed the committee in charge of the event and was assisted by Louise Fredericks and Rosalie Stoneman.

The food was supplied by a caterer and Susan said people agreed that it was much better than previous years at the Cunard Street Legion.

Mark October on Your Calendar

By Colin Cooper

The national executive of the Pensioners Association, led by President Don Waterston, is planning to hold its fall meeting in Halifax this year. The CBC Pensioners Association Maritime Region has welcomed the decision and looks forward to the meeting, scheduled for mid October.
Don WaterstonThe national executive holds regular meetings twice a year, usually in Ottawa, but decided to visit Halifax in the fall, mainly to recognize the contribution of Jack Brownell, a founding member of the national association, and currently a member of the national executive as well as president of the Maritime Pensioners Association.
The date of our October monthly meeting will be delayed to coincide with the visit of the national executive. National president Don Waterston and his board have accepted our invitation to join us for our meeting, so that they can be welcomed and answer a few questions.
A good turnout of Maritime members will ensure the national board hears firsthand what our main concerns are. So plan to attend and bring your questions


Foster, Robert Allison “Al” - 88, died in hospital in Halifax on Dec. 1, 2003. He is survived by daughters, Jacquelynn “Jackie” Heaps, and Alyson “Sally” MacNeill, both of Ottawa, a grandson and three great grandsons. Al was involved in the theater and broadcasting and had a long association with the CBC as a staff announcer and freelancer.

Garland, George Wayne (Josh)- 60, died April 29, 2004, in hospital in Sydney. He worked 22 years in in the CBC newsroom in Sydney. He is survived by his wife Helen Kennedy; sons, Joshua, Halifax; James at home; daughter, Tara Doswell and grandson, Luke, England; and stepchildren Allan and Shauna Morrison.

Haines, Elizabeth Joan – 55, died in hospital in Halifax on Mar. 14, 2004. A native of Queens, N.Y., she was the daughter of Jacqueline Haines, Boca Raton, Fla. and the late Harold Haines. She worked at the CBC in St. John’s, Nfld, Halifax and Sydney. For eight years she co-hosted the Radio Noon program in Halifax. She is also survived by her partner, Robert Spanik, New Glasgow.

Quinton, Chesley Maxwell "Max" - 84, died at home in Dartmouth on Mar. 17, 2004. A native of Sydney, he was a veteran of the Second World War. He was well known throughout Cape Breton as a radio and TV broadcaster. He joined the CBC in the mid 60s and worked in Sydney, Charlottetown and Halifax. He is survived by his wife, Irene, daughters Marlayn and Maxine, sons, Ken and Jon, eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Smith, Clarence Harley - 66 died at his home in Sackville, N.B. on May 22. He grew up in Stellarton, ., and served in the RCAF before joining Radio Canada International in Sackville as a maintenance technician. Harley retired in 1997. He is survived by his wife, Madelyn, a daughter, Melinda, and a son, Darren. He enjoyed hunting and fishing and long walks on the Trans Canada Trail.

Stewart, Ira George - 84 died May 28, 2004, in Dartmouth.. Born in Charlottetown Ira began his radio career in 1938 at CFCY. He served in the Navy and joined the CBC in Halifax in 1946. He was a producer, specializing in light popular music. Ira is survived by his wife, Ethel, two daughters and a son, and two stepdaughters and a stepson. His body was donated to the Dalhousie Medical School. A reception for family and friends was held June 5.

Financial Statement

Tom PottieFinancially, our past year has been a busy one. Even though extra expenses were added, all our commitments were met and we still managed to wind up with a reasonable Net Revenue. A budget for the 2004/ 2005 year is in place and I foresee another good year. The following is a condensed statement at the March 31/04 year-end.

Respectfully submitted,

Tom Pottie, Treasurer

Audited by:

Colin Cooper.

Bank Balance, March 31, 2003 7,085.00
Members Dues Allocations 7,260.00
Total Revenue 14,345.00
Communications 1,181.00
Memorials and Donations 880.00
Hall Rental 500.00
Christmas Dinner 2,731.00
Travel 1,085.00
Meetings 958.00
Miscellaneous 459.00
Total Expenses 7,794.00
Net Revenue $6,551.00

Update on the President

Jack Brownell Jack Brownell has led Maritime Pensioners in a number of battles, from improved supplementary health care to a fairer distribution of the Pension surplus. Now he’s in the toughest battle of his life – his personal struggle with cancer.
It struck suddenly just before Christmas and at first appeared to be a stroke. But tests determined it was a brain tumour and surgeons removed what they could.
Claire and Jack were determined to beat it so when Claire wasn’t at his hospital bedside, she was at the computer researching methods of treatment. They decided on a combination of Naturopathic and conventional medicine. Jack switched to a vegetarian diet and took radiation treatment. He has been going to the Naturopath regularly and going to the hospital for brain scans.
There has been some growth in the tumour, and now the doctors recommend chemotherapy. The type he needs costs $2,500 a month, and MSI has reluctantly agreed to cover it for a six month trial period. Jack continues to follow Pensioners’ business carefully and attended the national executive meeting in Toronto in May, combining it with more advanced naturopathic treatment up there.
Through it all Jack has remained remarkably upbeat, determined to do whatever it takes.

Prodding the Politicians

While the national executive confronts the CBC to try to claim our fair share of the Pension surplus, the Halifax pensioners felt it wouldn’t hurt to try to get some politicians on side.
Don Tremaine Don Tremaine volunteered for this task and in February wrote to Geoff Regan, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Nova Scotia’s representative in the federal cabinet.
Don pointed out the unfairness of what’s happening with the CBC claiming the entire surplus and asked Mr. Regan for some support at the Cabinet table.
Not surprisingly, there was no response, so at our May meeting Don offered to send another letter, this time with copies to Alexa McDonough of the NDP and Peter MacKay of the Conservative Party.
We’ll see if any of them come calling during the election campaign.


By Maurice Olsen

The Moncton Chapter’s main effort has been promoting change in our supplementary health care plan.
Since January 2001, our premiums have risen about 105%. In June 2003, all our attending members sent a petition for change to George Smith of CBC national human resources. Our executive followed up with queries and reminders.
We like to think these efforts speeded along the 2004 national survey on the matter, the results of which reflect general dissatisfaction in regions East of Ontario. High premiums are the reason. But change is slow to come.
We have been in touch with local Union representatives about this and their future contract talks. If they are aware of the premium bashing they can expect at retirement, they might push for some form of inflation buffer for the health plan, siphoned perhaps from the CBC cookie jar that contains the pension surplus.
The Maritimes have disappeared! In the CBC health survey results, we were upset to see that the Maritimes region was ignored! - not mentioned at all. We fired off an e-mail to Richard Leblanc, Corporate Manager, Benefits, asking that he provide the specific results for the Maritimes, and the percentage of respondents. And in time for our annual meeting of June 8th, we hope!