Nortel Pensioner: Anarchy Is the Answer

A Nortel Networks pensioner is calling on his fellow retirees to fight back against the Canadian government’s “ambivalence and apathy” about their financial plights.

As bankrupt Nortel sinks further into oblivion, it has stiffed many laid-off employees out of severance pay; worse, there is no guarantee whatsoever that pensioners will receive the money they earned after years of working for the once-venerable telecom equipment maker. Many fear the total loss of their fixed incomes, not just reductions in the amount they receive each month.

John F. Tyson of Ottawa has had enough. As he wrote yesterday in a column for the Ottawa Citizen, “I’m beginning to feel that anarchy is the answer of final resort.”

He exhorted Nortel pensioners to challenge the federal and provincial governments under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“We have been too polite, too civil and too Canadian,” Tyson said.

Tyson is recommending a revolt that leads to justice, equality and “action now.” He didn’t specify the form of anarchy, per se, although he did refer to the recent Tamil protests on Parliament Hill, which “only got attention after they shut down the main streets of Toronto and Ottawa.”

Nortel pensioners are up against some tough odds. Dozens of vendors and other parties have laid claim to what money comes of the insolvent company’s asset auctions; and those claims don’t include the three high-profile demands by Richard Lowe, president of the wireless unit, ex-CEO Mike Zafirovski and Bill Owens, another former CEO.

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