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Tory Pension Reform: People First, MPs Later

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty speaks about the budget at the Canadian Club of Toronto on Friday. Flaherty’s new budget outlined the increase of retirement age from 65 to 67 but meanwhile the golden pensions of MPs remain in tact and will only be discussed this fall. Again, the Conservatives put ideology ahead of the wellbeing of the population, but don’t count on the opposition to provide a real alternative.

Government sources say that changes will be made to the age of entitlement and benefit levels of MPs though none of the changes will take effect until after the 2015 election campaign.

In the meantime the only change that was addressed happened to make MPs contribute on a 50/50 model rather than the 23/1 model that had us paying 96% of their pensions.

"The fact that they put their own bank accounts ahead of the country at the same time as they are asking others to sacrifice, it's really disappointing," said Gregory Thomas, the federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

MPs start collecting their pensions at 55 and receive benefits including 75% of their salary. Unlike Canadians’, MP pensions are immune from any disruptions to the stock market and are indexed to inflation.

MPs aren’t the only ones with benefits and golden pensions. In 1992, Progressive Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney brought in a special allowance for prime ministers who served more than four years which can be collected from the age of 65 or when they cease being an MP.

This allowance gives retired Prime Ministers two thirds of their salaries. Harper will receive $104,000 per year.

“Mr. Harper proposes raising the age of retirement to 67,” Liberal MP Justin Trudeau said. “We propose he does the same thing for his special pension.”

The NDP opposition, while saying that the matter should be handled by an independent body, aren’t very supportive of cuts to their pensions. Take Newfoundland MP Ryan Cleary as an example.

“I work my butt off,” Cleary said. “Would I deserve a pension of $28,000 after six years? Probably not. It should be more than that.”

MP pensions are not the only piece of government waste. There is also MP salaries, the senate and a great bulk of unneeded bureaucrats. The Conservatives added them, and the opposition won’t get rid of them. Let’s be crystal clear, we are footing the bill for these expenses and these expenses are not only unnecessary and wasteful, they are unacceptable.

To top it all economists have stated that Old Age Security doesn’t need to be cut.

Where is our alternative? Seems it doesn’t exist. How unfortunate. Regardless who forms the government, Canadians won’t get a break.

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