One of the greatest strengths in our Western democracies are our independent media which keep an eye on our gov'ts and the best examples today are The NewYork Times and The Washington Post which each day inform the Americans about what is going on in Washington and try to counter the daily lies coming out of the WH.
What a crock, Americans weren’t swayed by Russian bots and a lot of the content was truly anti Trump, not the other way around. Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks and others exposed Hillary, Obama and the DNC for its utter corruption and contempt for the voters. Fake news is being exaggerated for the purpose of censorship, it’s 1984.
Bruce Kay lol "full weight of empirical evidence provided by the trusted institutions of scientific research." What a crock of shyt, Jen provides zero evidence, if you want scientific look up the Harvard study that proved MSM was 80% negative on Trump and 64% negative on HRC. Jen also conveniently omits the fact that social media allows people to bypass biased media.
You're an idiot Willberry Dough Boy. All and any actual science of human cognition shows clearly and as conclusively as CO2 is a greenhouse gas, that you are pissing in the wind every time you think. Science is fun eh?
this is the first time in history when people can clearly voice their own opinion without it being filtered or amalgamated by some political party claiming to represent the interests of the public. In other words, don't tell us what we think, we'll tell you.
Considering we in Canada live in a country that voted the Trust fund, sock loving Kodak Kid in with a vote count of only 29% of eligible voters, your argument about believing in Democracy has the sum total of zero for credibility.
And make sure Jen, you get a dig in against Rebel. Of course you did. You see FB, Twitter, blogs,have given the liitle people chance to show the MSM the contemp it so deserves in many cases. Didn't i just see today the media sanitizing Morneau and making excuses for Trudeau. When instead they should be asking for Morneau's resignation. Thank God for Rebel. They go where you angels fear to tread and yes come out with some scars. I will take them over you elitist pc lot any day.
It has certainly radicalized liberal-democracy and helped to polarize people. However, newspapers like the NYT and the G&M or CNN are no longer objective news sources but simply cheering sections for egalitarian politics and the Parties that push that message. Same with republican or establishment conservatives . There is no one representing moderates or independent voters.
Sadly many people see only what they want to see or whatever validates their own particular viewpoint. It's too bad that the art of critical thinking is in such short supply.
Just because the majority thinks so doesn't make it right. It is always best practice to at least consider alternate view points, evaluate their validity, think for yourself and then decide. Hmm... kind of obvious! Isn't it? How come so few do it?
"As long as it’s not mainstream, few seem to apply the level of scrutiny or skepticism that is, rightly, expected of outlets like this one."
She is assuming that people don't give the same level of scrutiny.
Maybe they do give the same level of scrutiny and find that too much of the mainstream media is very biased towards the left-wing and Liberals, and don't trust it anymore.
Maybe she and the mainstream media are the problem.
When liberal bag men on the CBC tell me that Trudeau is the darling of liberal democracy in the rest of the world; I take that with a grain of salt and I get my analysis elsewhere. The rest of the world must be puzzled but so long as the CBC doesn't show the PMO wearing clown shoes in this country; the rest of the world can keep their masks on.
That antidote, of course, to all the misinformation floating around is being well-informed. Too many cannot be bothered so they go out to vote (if they even bother) as low-information voters, impressed by superficialities or grossly minsinformed by social media. I wish the hell they would stay at home and let people who take the time to know the issues do the voting. We should not be encouraging mass voter participation. Those who care will vote.
Bias in an article is easy to spot. It's all down to the adjectives, you see. "Journalists" these days seem absolutely incapable of reporting on an event without bias and without attempt at editorializing. Editorializing is best left to more mature, senior staff for reasons which are so obvious that they needn't be listed. And this piece demonstrates perfectly the problem at hand. It is not a report. It is not news. It is an essay. Newspapers and news outlets are expected to report news on events. This is their function. But in the search for a wider audience and more and more money...See More
I haven't gone to the alternative media for regular news. but the Hillary/Trump election was a watershed event for me and a lot of people like me, who realize that "mainstream media" is not just dead, completely bought and sold and no longer willing to maintain even a pretense of objectivity, but rotting, devolving into partisan activism and namecalling. I miss the few journalists who have an above average command of English and a knowledge of both history and the mechanics of logical thought. But Rex Murphy and Conrad Black can't make up for the fact that I feel dirty reading the news now. At first, I tried to cobble together an aggregator with right wing alternatives (as the left has destroyed most media outlets now), but it's just not worth it. I want to know what is happening in the world, but news agencies will not help me. Instead I am cultivating friendships with ordinary people all over the world, checking reddit, writing letters, and trying to just care less.
Jen Gerson is one of the few rising stars in mainstream journalism. I've been following her writing since she first started out, and while half of what she writes I don't agree with, the other half I do. Proving two things: Her balanced independance journalism and my personal bias.
The second best thing about her writing is it appears she is honing her wordsmithing craft. In time, she will be a fine replacement for Rex Murphy's prose.
"What is happening on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms right now will go down as one of the greatest experiments in mass manipulations in human history. " All true for those who are invested in using it to manipulate the public. It brings to mind Vote Compass although that manipulation was carried out by the national broadcaster. The real question for independent thinkers is whether or not they know BS when they see it; not whether they should shut down their twitter feeds and facebook accounts. You can be sure that our own political elite will not be shutting down their accounts. Not many people know about logic fallacies and the ways one can be emotionally manipulated to be accepted by the group. I see it in operation every day with our own political masters. Yes Trump is full of crap and so is Trudeau and they are both doing as much damage as they possibly can to Canada.
Most of the interent is used for porn and I am only swayed by women and ignore most other things unless it involves women such as when my wife tells me to do something. Do we really live in a democracy beyond the one man one vote concept, I do not think we do. Our elected politicians work for the wealthy and special interest groups first and often resist what the majority desires such as fair taxes. I doubt that it makes much difference in the long term who is elected since the system responds to changes that are not controlled by any group or person. Hilary had more votes but the majority did not vote for her or Trump. Normal voting patterns predicted that Trump would win regardess of what anyone claims.
The media became a serious and major problem, when they decided the facts were not important, their opinions were. So they changed from news reporting organsations to colouring the news with their own opinion. Why they thought their opinion as journatlists were more valid and important than anybody else's I'm not sure. They continue to discuss President Trump problem with the truth, but if the truth be known they equally as guilty.
Most people get better at what they do the longer they do it. The exceptions are academics and journalists. Some of these manage to get worse. Like this author and andrew coyne.
This time Jen you are so wrong that you now have the same credibilty as the worst of what you are criticising.
We live in an era where Liberals are actually proud of the fact that they refuse to hear both sides and will do eveything in their power to shut down opposing points of view.. When that's allowed to happens you end up with an empty headed HIMBO leading the country to ruin.
The headline reads, "Jen Gerson: The greatest weakness in Western democracies is us," which is awful English. The headline should read, "Jen Gerson: We are the greatest weakness in Western democracies."
It is amazing just how low our language facility has fallen. Even professional writers are unable to put a sentence together or spot errors prior to publication.
"Writer of politics, pipelines, and funny animal stories.Calgary Herald, Abu Dhabi Media Company, The Globe and Mail."
Abu Dhabi, The Globe and Mail. Not much to add, her strong left wing bias, pro islamic support clearly shows in her assaults of the duly elected American President.
maybe Gerson should take some time out to read something other than the NYT, WaPo and try getting television news from someone other than MSNBC or NBC or CNN - might get a better prospective to write from but I doubt it Gerson will not receive information that she doesnt agree with and will not give fair standing - but the opinion writer can write her opinions based on faulty info - that is how we get fake narratives - but dont stop Gerson ur a warrior in the name of what?????????
It's called the internet, feel free to get your information beyond FB. Open a twitter account and get feeds from hundreds of news source and blogs delivered to you. Who in their right mind uses FB as their source? It's a messaging system I am forced to use because NP uses it. FB is for idiots.
This is probably one of the most interesting and underreported subjects of all time. It truly is time to start criticizing the tech companies who are getting away with murder. In what ways are the tech companies making our lives better? What ways are they making our lives worse? In what ways are they causing real harm? These are big questions we need to start asking much more vigorously. This is the 2nd article I've read from NP on this important subject recently. Keep it up National post! People are bored with Russia, Russia, Russia and other click bait subjects. This is a good article and would like to read more on same subject .
I do wonder about how much time people spend on social media (and I do appreciate the irony that this is a Facebook post). It is as if there are two separate worlds, .... reality and the on-line world. I wonder how many people get lost in the artificial world ... never interacting face to face with real people, never going outdoors, never living in three dimensions.
While Sears' shareholders pocketed payouts of $3.5 billion, the chain's pension plans remained underfunded to the tune of $270 million
For those who mark such things, Sunday was the last in which any Sears Canada store would ply its wares. As a Heartless Millennial, I admit no sentimentality about this passing. I have no memory of flipping through its catalog for Christmas presents — although I suppose I must have — and the iconic department store made no attempt to appeal to me, or to anyone like me, until my Amazon and pop-up-shop habits were immovably established.
Instead, I find my sympathies reserved for the likes of Ron Husk, recently profiled by CBC in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The 72-year-old retiree is now pulling shifts at Home Depot after working for 35 years selling appliances for Sears. Thanks to the nature of bankruptcy, his defined benefit pension is likely to be cut by as much as 20 per cent — although the lawyers and actuaries are still working out the details.
While Sears’ shareholders pocketed payouts of $3.5 billion, the chain’s pension plans remained underfunded to the tune of $270 million. While its executives enjoyed dividends, they also accepted multi-million dollar retention bonuses in the company’s closing months.
Maybe those incentives weren’t quite high enough. In the end, they didn’t seem to do much good. Regardless, none of them now need worry about how to make ends meet.
It’s Husk, and more than 16,000 retirees like him, who is left to fill in the gap because he relied on a corporate defined benefit pension.
His life insurance, health and dental benefits are gone, too. Cancelled in September, according to the CBC.
“That leaves me in a spot where, well, I’m going to need more money to make ends meet,” he said.
“At 72 years old, you don’t expect these things to happen.”
This might be an odd lament for a millennial like me, who would never deign to hope to see the sweet side of a defined benefit pension. It might be a good thing to grow up in such times; I’ll never live to be deluded by concepts like job security or loyalty. It’s not a bad thing to expect the worst, to think transactionally, to learn to manage one’s own RRSP account, or to look out for oneself first.
No corporation will ever disappoint me.
However, if fair-minded businesses wish to reduce the cries of more onerous regulation, stories like Husk’s don’t play well. Every senior pensioner who must trek back to Home Depot in his twilight years is going to raise questions about whether or not treating pensioners as secondary to other kinds of creditors in cases of bankruptcy is a fair ordering of priorities.
It’s not hard to imagine a world in which executive retention bonuses and dividend payouts are made contingent on fully funding pension plans, for example. If corporate boards are not willing to hold their executives to account, they should not be surprised to find a government eager to do so.
Ontario has attempted to ameliorate the plight of bankrupt pension plans by creating the Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund, which guarantees the first $1,000 of pension income lost in such a case; that figure has been set to rise to $1,500. (Sears employees in other provinces are out of luck.)
The PBGF strikes me as well-intentioned, but still fundamentally problematic. It’s using taxpayer funds to secure individual benefits at the expense of a province that is already deeply indebted.
Further, it gives us yet another example of privatizing profits and socializing loses; of placing those who were least responsible for Sears’ decline — the likes of a go-getting appliance salesman like Ron Husk — on the hook for his bosses’ failures.
In the end, that could be what defines Sears’ legacy, far more so than mouldering catalogs and storied corporate histories.
Sears is not just a failure of capitalism....taxpayers and pensioners might have searching questions of Canada’s pension regulators who have allowed many of Canada’s largest corporations to build a pension funding deficit of over $38 billion...
Sorry...I thought I was clear that the failure of the company (and the manner of its passing) was completely a failure of management...The fact that the employee's pension is not adequately funded is also a failure of management AND the failure of the Government who oversees company's obligations to fund their pensions.
The problem is with DB pension plans. Ban them, everybody gets a DC plan with the money *theirs* to see fit to invest as aggressively as they want. No more shared pots of money with unrealistic payout promises attached to them....
Zellers was worse. Garbage products, disheveled stores-products were never displayed properly and were always a mess. The buyers couldn't figure out what sizes people actually need. No loss when they closed; Hudson's Bay is barely better (same crap 25% more expensive)
Since 2005 Sears Canada paid out $2.2 billion in three special dividends to its parent and hedge fund owner and another $900 million to shareholders, while leaving soon-to-be ex-employees and former employees with a $327 million pension deficit. Canadian government should pursue the parent and hedge fund owner for a) the pension shortfall, b) unpaid employee severance, c) a pecuniary penalty, and d) legal costs. But won’t.
I understand that you might consider the actions by Sears Canada that you list to be reprehensible, but did any of them break Canadian law?
If so, then perhaps you could provide us with chapter and verse.
If not, then on what grounds could the Canadian government "pursue the parent and hedge fund owner"?
I consider the actions of doctors that kill innocent, defenceless humans that are unborn to be reprehensible but, unfortuantely, abortion is not currently against the law in Canada. But perhaps, like the actions by Sears Canada that you dislike, it should be.
Except that when money is being deducted off your cheque, you shouldn’t have to worry that it won’t be there - basically companies are allowed to steal these funds with the notion they will get paid back in the future. Pension funds should be legally locked and untouchable by those collecting it.
72 year olds don't deserve this, having to resort to desperately trying to find work, when they should be relaxing and enjoying fruits of many years of hard work. Yet, relying on a company like Sears to bail you out as a long time employee, when such fact is not going to happen, suggests that individuals should plan for their future retirement regardless how secure they may think by other means. Get a TFSA; and early!
You should be able to trust your employer and those handling your pension funds. I was contacted by Coop grocery stores about a pension I had contributed to for 5yrs. in my 20's. When I left I was young & didn't care about a pension. I didn't even know I had decided to leave the money in the pension plan. They finally got hold of me (I had moved a lot) & informed me that my contributions had grown to $25,000. I was pleasantly shocked. Now that's an honest pension fund. The Sears workers should have been able to rely on that money, that no one could use or take away what they had contributed to.
Trudeau is trying to take the TFSA away . Harper raised it to 10500 so people can save without government taxing but Trudeau lowers it for what reason? Because the government cant control how much you earn inside.
So where exactly were all the government oversight agencies (staffed by people making very nice salaries) to ensure that the company was putting what was due into the pension plan? Probably the same place that they are since most government funded pension plans are underwater. Here in Regina our city's pension plan is vastly underfunded, but the city as a plan comprised mainly of raising property taxes to fund the plan (sewers, water mains breaking constantly - on my crescent last summer we had SIX watermain breaks and this winter 3 so far. So taxes to fix infrastructure are an afterthought). But it must be difficult to decide which to fund - overstaffed bureuacracy or essential services.
I think the rationale is that if you have people in charge of the winding up process who are incentivized to minimize the losses to all stakeholders, then you are more likely to get a result that does just that, than if the people in charge get paid the same amount even of no one else gets anything.
Once a Rape and Pillage (Hedge) Fund targets a company, that company is doomed. The business model requires that the company fail and enter bankruptcy. I've worked for two companies that were targeted by pillagers that operated very similarly to the hedge funds. As soon as you hear the term "unlock shareholder value" you know that the raping and pillaging is about to begin. The technique is to purchase the company with as low a down payment as possible, and get the existing shareholders and creditors to carry the balance as an unsecured mortgage. Then sell off as many of the assets as po...See More
Jen Gerson is sadly fooling herself if she thinks that learning to manage her own RRSP fund is going to save her and her Millennial ilk, in thier old age. I'd love for her to provide the contact information of the folks holding her funds that aren't contected in any way, to any "Corporation". Millennials that don't understand the concepts of "Security and Loyality", are in for a rude awakening.
The pensions should be protected by law in the best case, and at least, by morality in the worst case.
I stopped patronizing Sears long ago. They sold little that I wanted at prices that were high compared to the competition, and failed to jump on the Amazon bandwagon of online sales despite having a catalog that lasted for months in many outhouses everywhere. Pity about their employees getting shafted and criminal how it happened while execs got huge bonuses fro running the place into the ground. End of? Just another "muricin retailer going under. I miss Eaton's more.
We need a couple of changes in law. First, companies should not be able to pay dividends or engage in sharebacks while their pension fund is underfunded. This would highly incentivise CEOs and boards of directors to make sure the pension fund is properly funded. If they give themselves bonuses while shareholders are left in the cold due to mismanaged pesion plans they will soon feel the pain of a shareholder revolt. Secondly, the pension fund's solvency needs to be adjudicated by an organization that is at arms length from the company. Finally, the pension plan shouldn't be able to invest in the company's own shares or bonds, with a possible of exception of an ETF which owns those shares as part of a wide basket of stocks matching financial indexs like the S&P500. This avoids government being on the hook for corporate malfeasance, while providing a big incentive for corporations to live up to their responcibilities.
It is terrible for the people affected, however the issues are a little more complicated, as the company couldn't have funding and would have gone bankrupt much sooner! There are however many governments who don't fund their pension obligations properly!
In Canada, most pension plan are provincially regulated & most provinces do an abysmal job. They allow firms to underfund such pensions. Also, no government in Canada, save Ontario, has any legislation guaranteeing pensioners anything if their employer goes bankrupt or files for creditor protection. As regards pensions, workers in the US have better pension protection due to federal legislation there than workers in Canada. Hard to believe but true!
Well, welcome to disaster capitalism. MANY of us have been saying/suggesting for many years pensions/pension fund contributions have to be safeguarded/upheld on the same level of urgency as investors and bond holders $$$$ is and always has been
Will “that” ever happen in our “markets know best society? Like hell it will.
You don’t have to go any further than the Post/Postmedia who are “short” in their pension fund to the tune of 74 MILLION dollars. Same old, same old BS......
Weren't the lessons from the Nortel demise enough to make significant changes in pension policy? Contributions for the pensioned employee should be managed and held by the Government for distribution. Even defined contributions such as this one.
Jen Gerson, if you plan to never be disappointed by a corporation because you have taken matters into your own hands, why would you make a veiled suggestion that regulations might help future workers from a fate similar the Sears workers? Would you be quicker to recommend that workers follow your example than to rely on the government?
At what point can we not re-write what a corporation is and its responisibilites to its employees/commuinites it serves rather than shareholders the elite continue to fcuk with employees while crushing communities
Our cpp funds were I believe loaned out at cheap rates to "friends" years back and did not get the return they should have, that was out of the taxpayers hands. Also when one is living in existing from paycheck to paycheck it's a little difficult to save for anything.
Lyndia Edwards but the fella in this article DID save for his own retirement, he contributed to the pension fund. Now it’s his, he paid, he earned it, but Sears won’t keep their financial commitment, of course they paid the executives and the share holders, it is like stealing from the employees.
SHARE HOLDERS. Their greed is responsible for so much worker angst. They are responsible for jobs going overseas because they want more profit to add to their bloated portfolios. I believe in capitalism BUT that 1% has GOT to be addressed. Forcing a company like Sears to liquidate so they can line their pockets and find another poor company to start it all over again. Wrong just wrong.
Yes ... but what has that to do with this article?
According to an article "All the companies in Jeff Bezos’s empire, in one (large) chart" posted Jan 9 2018 at marketwatch . com/story/its-not-just-amazon-and-whole-foods-heres-jeff-bezos-enormous-empire-in-one-chart-2017-06-21, Bezos was, on that day, "worth ... $105.1 billion ..., making him now worth more than Bill Gates ever was."
However, looking through the list that is contained in that article of all the companies in which Bezos has invested (interesting reading actually), Sears in not in the list.
So, again, what does your comment have to do with the NP article?
Far too many Canadians cannot see the truth of what you say. Government is the worst offender but in their case they just print more money to cover their obligations and we then suffer as the value of our useless currency continues to drop. But this is Canada so who cares. Canadians sure as hell don't.