Letter to the editor – Populism


A recent letter to the Times incorrectly and unfairly links right wing extremists to millionaires, billionaires, and anyone who is critical of local government, high property taxes, and special interest groups that seek to appropriate property taxes for their own benefit.

The author also states that millionaires and billionaires have “more money than they need”. There are 41 billionaires and 376,000 millionaires in Canada, and though many of them have significant resources to live the high life, most of their assets are invested in various enterprises that bring great benefits to Canadians, and many of them are business owners who on average retire at the age of 66, five years more than the average public sector retirement age of 61.

A millionaire is someone who has a net worth of one million or more, including primary residence. If you’re a millionaire in the private sector, you’re likely to be someone who has no defined benefit pension, so aside from CPP and OAS, your pension comes from what your assets can earn. Let’s say you have a million dollars to invest in financial assets, what would that million dollars earn? The average dividend yield of the TSX between 2000-2015 was 2.39%, so assuming it was fully invested in the TSX, that million would earn $23,900 per year.

Don’t forget that investing is risky, as recent action in the financial markets can attest. Compare this to a retired public servant receiving $75,000 per year in pension income. This $75,000 is virtually risk free and is likely indexed to inflation, and using the TSX 2.39% dividend yield, is equivalent to having the income from $3 million dollars in financial assets. I guess some public servants are going to have to be included in that elite group that have “more money than they need”. Perhaps these are the same people that aren’t too concerned about high property taxes.

If he wants people to “pull together”, why doesn’t he start by addressing the massive inequities exemplified by the high salaries, pensions, and benefits of government employees compared to those of the majority in the private sector. I recommend public sector salary caps that cannot exceed private sector pay for comparable positions, a pension cap including CPP of a maximum of $50,000 for government employees, enhancement of CPP, and benefits (health and insurance) only benefits are available to every Canadian worker. No government employee should receive a pension prior to the age of 60, which is the age when private sector workers can access CPP at a reduced rate. If a government worker wishes to retire before the age of 65, their pension should be reduced, just as CPP is reduced for early retirement. How’s that for populism?

Stephen Hammond


  1. $75K a year public servant pension? Are you mad? The average federal pension is less than $30K a year. Your hyperbole here and throughout your rant shows how little credibility anyone should assign to your story.


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