MP pension reform praised, bill short-listed

MP contributions almost quadrupled, 10 years added to retirement age

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is welcoming reforms to the MP and government employee pension plans, calling it the “most significant reform to MP pensions we’ve seen in our 22-year history.”

The changes recently introduced into Parliament by the Conservative government will see MP pension contributions currently slightly more than $11,000 a year climb to almost $39,000 by 2017.

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod says she has been committed to supporting changes for some time now.

“Since I was elected in 2008, I’ve heard loud and clear from people throughout this riding that they believe the MP pension plans were too rich.”

The CTF also applauded the decision to move both MPs and new government employees to a retirement age of 65 for a full pension, beginning in 2015.

A decade of additional pension payments for MPs will make a “vast improvement” to current pension inequities for Canadians, the CTF states.

McLeod adds she is “very proud” of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s leadership on the issue, and of his listening to taxpayers.

“The changes to move toward both paying our fair share and increasing the retirement age from 55 to 65, as the taxpayers federation has said, is the biggest move that any government has made in many years.”

She notes Harper also leading by example by making significant changes to his own special allowance (PM pension plan).

The CTF estimates that once all the reforms are in place, a new MP elected after 2017 would be eligible for a $101,000 annual pension after three terms of office. That same MP would have contributed nearly $589,000 towards that pension.

Treasury Board president Tony Clement said it will save taxpayers $2.6 billion over five years.

However, these changes to the public service pension plan are “one step” towards solving the imbalance with those in the private sector – most of whom have no pension at all – while paying for “very rich” pensions for government workers, CTF adds.

The federation also expressed its disappointment that government didn’t require the MP pension fund to be invested, so those returns could top up the fund, rather than resulting in “phony” interest payments and adjustments in a further hit to taxpayers.

However, McLeod’s responds by reiterating that such a “huge, significant and important” change as this will leave MPs “paying their fair share.”

Some taxpayers continue to complain they have contributed big money for decades, so they could retire with a full pension still much smaller than an MPs, but McLeod says that gap is narrowing.

“I was involved in health care before, and it’s becoming not dissimilar to those sorts of [pension] plans.”

She explains people may be misunderstanding the MP pension plans provide less money for fewer years’ contributions, increasing as time and the amount of actual contributions accumulate.

“An MP that only works six years has only invested six years into it; it’s the same as for nurses. Years of contributory service are years of service, whether it be MPs or it be nurses.”

In another twist, MPs voted to remove pension reform from an omnibus bill with a multitude of other new legislation on Oct. 19.

The prodigious bill could have taken many weeks to pass, but would have seen pension reform opponents, in or out of the Conservative caucus, under pressure to vote in favour of it in order to support other initiatives in the bill.

Instead, members of the House of Commons will now vote separately on the pension changes.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: Wildfire northeast of Clinton put out by BC Wildfire Service

Fire at 51 Mile Creek suspected to be lightning-caused

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

Bursaries and bake sales at South Green Lake

Drive-thru homemade pie sale a huge success in a trying time

Amidst heatwaves, officials remind public to take water safety seriously

RCMP, Search and Rescue and BC branch of Lifesaving Society offer recommendations to those water-bound

Children enjoy activities at South Cariboo Rec Centre day camps

Children are getting the chance to enjoy fun day camps with COVID-19 precautions in place.

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Leave your deets when dining: Restaurants taking personal info to trace COVID-19

Health officials say indoor dining presents a higher risk

Raptors kneel for both American and Canadian anthems ahead of tipoff

Majority of players have substituted their names on the backs of their jerseys with racial and social justice messages

Wild’s Mathew Dumba makes anti-racism speech, kneels ahead of Blackhawks vs. Oilers

Matt Dumba, 26, took to center ice to speak on behalf of fellow members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance

Programs at 3 of 17 medical schools in Canada aim for equity for Black students

She applied to the medical school anyway through the Black Student Application Program

Most Read