1995. Reform Party focusing opposition to pension plan for Members of Parliament. Plan far too generous, compared to private sector, plus entitlement to the pension came far too early. Reform Party opposition achieved increase in contribution rate, plus decrease in pension accrual rate (how much of pension earned, per year of service). In addition, minimum the age of entitlement changed from any age, to 55.
Negative public perceptions fueled by encouraging public contempt. Members of Parliament supporting existing pension plan referred to as pigs. Most Reform Party Members of Parliament made public show of opting out of the pension plan; option created by the Liberal government. Major principled, compared to the pigs. Most later opting back in.
Time for vote on 1005 pension plan amendments. Pig element reaching new heights, or lows. Representative of Reform Party Communications stands at entrance to the House of Commons Chamber. Hands out hand-drawn pig images for Reform Party Members to place on their lapels, prior to sitting in the Chamber. Assume no time for a formal pig pin order. Show to the others how gluttonous those others were.
Seemed a bit much. Unbecoming, or something more, or other. Certain Reform Members of Parliament refusing to wear the pigs. Reactions being immediate; this is off the scale. Still opposed to pension plan, and very much opposed to stuntish tactics. Reform names with no pigs: Ian McClelland, Stephen Harper; a few others.
Sat in House of Commons gallery for the vote. All these Reform Party Members of Parliament, little pigs on lapels. Some add to theme by making snorting noises. Some yelling “sooey” in the House.
Those few, with no pigs on lapels. Remained silent. Voted with snorting colleagues.
A time of some honour, and some dishonour, in Opposition.