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Grave doubts

Dear sir:

I was disappointed after our talk that there was no mention of the subject of the MPP pension buy-out in the last edition of the Times. I believe the public has a right to know how their money is spent so I ask you to publish this letter.

When visiting my daughter, the London Free Press, on or about the first of October, had an article on the front page stating that Premier Mike Harris and Finance minister Ernie Eves would receive over $800,000 each from the government to buy out their pensions.

The next day was a list of all the MPPs in the area covered by the Free Press and the amounts they would get. Most of them would receive $300,000 each.

A private firm of accountants decided the amounts, and of course long-time members get more. I am told a further article has named three or four long-term MPPs who will receive over a million dollars each. There seems to be a conspiracy of silence, as up here no one has heard about these costly buy-outs.

A government that has been so mean to the most unfortunate members of Ontario appears to be most generous to itself. The social welfare payments, help to the mentally handicapped, injured workers, and handicapped children have all been cut, or diminished.

It is difficult to set the salaries of those who are elected to govern. The CEOs of banks, and large companies, make much more than we pay the prime minister or the premier. Of course, if you are good at sports, today, you can claim big money. I believe that chiselling the poor to make tax cuts that benefit the rich is wrong. I have grave doubts about the size of the pension buy-outs.

Of course, you can close up another hospital to pay for it.

Yours truly,

Ron Helliar

Editor's note: An article distributed by the Canadian Press earlier this week said taxpayers will save money with a new pension plan for Ontario politicians, although it involves big payouts to some.

The article said the new pension plan is much less generous and is expected to save at least $5.4 million a year.

The old plan cost $6 million annually, and would have gone up, the article stated.

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