While a number of high-profile GTA politicians suffered defeats in Monday’s federal election, their fall is well-cushioned by severance payouts and a few million-dollar pensions.
New figures released by the Canadian Taxpayers Association show several prominent MPs snatched financial victory from the jaws of political defeat.
“Losing an election can be tough, but most MPs will have a soft financial landing,” CTF Federal Director Aaron Wudrick said in a statement.
The NDP’s Peggy Nash was upset in Parkdale-High Park, but still collects an annual pension of $34,705. Since pensions are indexed – meaning they increase every year to keep pace with the Consumer Price Index – Nash’s lifetime pension amounts to over $1.7 million.
Conservative Bob Dechert, who lost in Mississauga-Erindale, can collect $1.6 million. That’s still far behind his defeated Conservative colleague in St. Catharines; Richard Dykstra’s lifetime pension amounts to over $2.5 million.
By comparison, the CTF estimates it would take the average Canadian almost 30 years to accumulate the same nest egg an MP qualifies for after just six years of service.
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MPs must serve six years in office to qualify for a pension, so several high-profile figures who went down in defeat Monday, such as Joe Oliver, Julian Fantino and Chris Alexander, are ineligible for the payout.
They’re not left high and dry, though; a defeated MP still gets a severance payout of half their annual salary, so they’ll still collect at least $83,700 in severance. On top of that, they get a lump-sum payout of their pension contributions.
Taxpayers account for a large chunk of those contributions too; according to the CTF, taxpayers contribute $17 for to MP pensions for every $1 the MP contributes themselves.
However, recent reforms to the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act will reduce the burden on taxpayers. Starting in January 2016, MPs will pay 50 per cent of the cost of a pension plan.