Pension mightier than the sword

Cameron Orr talks about MP pensions in On the Line.

A story in the paper this week highlights how well MPs do when it comes to their pensions. (A12)

The story focuses on how much our own federal representative makes, but the background applies to all MPs out there.

If the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is correct, and I think their numbers are usually sound, then Canadians pay, at least ‘officially’, just under $6 per $1 that an MP contributes to their pension.

With various other ‘hidden’ fees, the rate actually is something along the lines of over $20 spent by the public per $1 by the MP, according to the CTF.

In 2015, to retire the entire parliament that currently sits, it would cost $262 million in pensions and $15 million in severence.

To be honest, I’m not opposed necessarily to paying a little more for MPs’ benefits. Paying six times what an MP contributes to their own pension, however, is way too extreme.

A representative in the government is someone who has decided their time is best spent looking out for our interests. I get that. So it’s really not a problem for me that if they can put in six years, they get the pension. I would consider that a long time as far as public service goes.

However I’m looking at the numbers and an MP starts off with a salary of $157,000. I’ll never even approach seeing that many digits in my own salary. Take that, and apply to it a pension that is, by itself, also a salary I might not ever see, and you end up with some highly paid people.

I believe in a fair wage for representatives, but it’s a funny contrast to have someone represent ‘regular’ people while making so much more money. Isn’t this partly where the Occupy movement came from?

By the way, this is more philosophical musings, not pointing a finger at any particular representative. But maybe with the pension thing we can at least cap the contribution at, say, $2 or $3 of public money to $1 of an MPs contribution.

Perhaps it might be worth it for Ottawa to roll up their collective sleeves and see if they can get by with a little less.

Just like what many of the people they represent already do.


– Cameron Orr is the editor of The Interior News