The relentlessly hypocritical Gwyn Morgan
Another column by Gwyn Morgan in the Globe and Mail and another case of a 0.1 percenter telling the rest of us to “Do as I say, not as I do.”
This time, it’s Gwyn recycling trash from the CFIB and Fraser Institute to claim defined benefit pensions for public sector workers are too generous and are simply unaffordable, and that governments need to “defy union resistance to pension-plan changesÂ by all available means, including back-to-work legislation and imposed contracts that reflect fiscal realities. And the strongest tool available is the reduction of union monopoly power through private-sector contracting of public services.”
Does this guy ever Â look in the mirror to do anything more than admire his own magnificence –and perhaps maybe consider the contradictions in his columns or his own absolute hypocrisy?
Yet, this is the same Gwyn Morgan who retired as an executive of Encana Corp in 2006 with a defined benefit pension worth $26.5 million then, paying out $1.77 million a year (see page 23 of EnCana’s 2007 Annual Information Circular). Â EnCana can somehow continue to afford to pay defined benefit pensions for its executives while requiring its workers to assume all the risk with defined contribution schemes.
At that time, Morgan still held over $10 million worth of EnCana stock options for which he would only pay half the ordinary tax rate, saving him personallyanother $2 million in tax — but does he ever suggest governments should close the billion dollar stock option tax loophole, restore corporate tax rates, or increase resource royalties to deal with “fiscal realities”? Â No, never.
Morgan of course went on to greater things: a fail bid to become Harper’s patronage czar, on the board of the Fraser Institute, the “Manning Centre for Democracy”, HSBC and chair of the board of SNC-Lavalin. Â During this time at SNC-Lavalin senior company executives and officials (allegedly) engaged in corruption and bribery around the globe, including in Algeria, Libya, and at the McGill University Health Centre Hospital P3 (together with Arthur Porter, who Harper appointed as chair of Canada’s Security Intelligence Review Committee). This was enough to get his former right-hand man CEO Pierre Duhaime arrested,Â SNC-Lavalin banned for ten years from contracts by the World Bank, and Canada to the top of the charts on the World Bank’s corrupt companies list. Â But does Morgan ever assume personal responsibility for that? Â Never. Â Instead he takes a few more hundred thousand per year as well as tax-preferenced stock options and carries on.
I could go on and on, but if there were a Petulant (and hypocritical) Plutocrat of the Week award for Canada, Gwyn Morgan would surely drive, walk and run away with a lifetime achievement award.
Update: The Globe published a letter from CLC president Ken Georgetti using some of this information:
Update 2:Â Gwyn MorganÂ received the Petulant Plutocrat of the Week from the US e–newsweekly Too Much, published by the Institute for Policy StudiesÂ in Washington,Â DC.
Since my embedded links don’t seem to work, here’s the link to Too Much, an excellent on-line weekly of excess and inequality and below is their commendation.
“Nothing seems to upset Gwyn Morgan, the retired Canadian oil and gas CEO and fracking pioneer, more than public employees with pensions. Earlier this month, in his national newspaper column, Morgan fulminated against the expending of tax dollars â€œon extravagant public-sector benefits.â€ Privatizing public services, he went on to suggest, just might free taxpayers from the scourge of public employee pensions that pay out defined benefits. Morgan himself just happens to enjoy a defined-benefit pension from the natural gas giant Encana that pays him $1.77 million a year. Canadian public employee pensions currently average $24,000 annually.Â In his spare time, Morgan sits on the board of a major right-wing think tank that Americaâ€™s Koch brothers help bankroll.”
Congratulations and well deserved, Gwyn: you are truly world-class!