Protestors are flooding Montréal streets in opposition of Quebec’s Bill 3, a measure that would freeze COLAs for retirees and increase employee contributions.
But the government isn’t willing to reverse course on their plan to lower the costs of the province’s pension system. Bill 3 is expected to pass within a month. From the Montreal Gazette:
The provincial government won’t budge on the proposed reform of municipal pension plans, Municipal Affairs Minister Pierre Moreau said Tuesday, three days after the largest protest yet against Bill 3 was held in Montreal.
“We are not in a bargaining situation,” he said. “The government and experts have said, in a report that was welcomed by everyone in the National Assembly, that there was an urgency to act to save those pensions. That’s what we’ve done.”
The minister said the government is done consulting interested parties, including union leaders, retiree representatives and the Union des municipalités du Québec, and has moved on to drafting the bill. Union leaders called the hearings a “farce.”
The government won’t necessarily wait for actuarial reports on the health of the pension plans to be published next month before passing the bill, Moreau added.
“Having the numbers doesn’t change anything,” he said. “It doesn’t change anything for the pensions that are totally under-financed.
“For example, even if I don’t know your weight, if you’re overweight I know you’re in precarious health.”
Bill 3 is part of a larger austerity plan to cut government costs and pay down a deficit of nearly $4 billion.