Are the MP pensions too rich?

If MP Cathy McLeod lives until the age of 80, she will collect $1.21 million in pension over her lifetime

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo Conservative MP Cathy McLeod said she wants to have a discussion on MP pensions when politicians return to Ottawa, but she questions numbers in a scathing report on the issue.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation recently released a report detailing individual MP pensions.

In the case of McLeod, after six years in office, or by the next federal election in 2015, according to the CTF, the Kamloops MP is eligible to receive an annual pension of $35,385.

When asked by KTW whether the pension was fair, McLeod replied she hadn’t read the CTF report.

“I would really like to read the report because you’re giving me a number that I have no idea,” she said, adding she intends to read the report to determine if the CTF numbers are accurate.

However, McLeod indicated MP pensions would be discussed when politicians get back Ottawa later this month, adding “everything is on the table” as her government tries to balance the budget.

If she stays on the job until 2019, the report stated her annual pension will jump to $56,227.

If McLeod lives until the age of 80, she will collect $1.21 million in pension over her lifetime.

She was first MP in 2008, and re-elected last May.

McLeod said MP pensions need to be fair to taxpayers and politicians.

She noted her riding office has fielded calls from residents who have expressed concern with the numbers presented by the CTF.

The CTF report stated taxpayers contribute $23 for every dollar an MP contributes to their pension.

Though McLeod wouldn’t specifically comment on her pension, the director of the B.C. chapter of the CTF, Jordan Bateman, had a blunt assessment of MP pensions in general, calling the numbers “outrageous.”

“MPs should be embarrassed to take this kind of money from taxpayers,” he told KTW.

Bateman said federal politicians have the richest pension plans in Canada, which far outstrip public-sector pensions.

While some politicians would argue they could earn larger salaries in the private sector and there is no job security as an elected official, Bateman questioned how many MPs could get a job in the private sector making the same kind of money.

The average MP salary is in the $160,000 range.

Bateman suggested an alternative to the current pension scheme would be a pooled retirement-savings plan in which MPs can contribute and take the amount with them when they are done.

– Kamloops This Week