Tories to scale back MP pensions but salary freeze could be lifted

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

Do you want to hear the good news or the bad news first?

Well, here's the good.

It appears that the government is finally doing something about gold-plated MP pensions.

Several media outlets are reporting that the Tories are poised to introduce another omnibus budget bill during the Fall sitting of the House which will include, among other things, reforms to public sector and MP pension schemes.

[ Related: Opposition parties ready to battle another omnibus budget bill ]

According to the Globe and Mail, the new legislation would mean that retired MPs — starting after the next election — would begin receiving their parliamentary pension at age 65 instead of 55.

Moreover, MPs are going to have to contribute more to their retirement nest eggs.

"The Conservative caucus is designing a new scheme that would force MPs to pay 50 per cent of the annual contribution to their pension package," notes the Globe and Mail.

"These days, MP contributions represent a small fraction of what the government is contributing."

Enjoy that piece of information, but just for a second.  Here's the bad news.

Global News is reporting that the freeze on MP salaries, which was introduced as an austerity measure by in 2011, will be removed, with "future increases tied to the average increase in public sector wages."

In other words, MP retirement benefits will be clawed back, but they could be entitled to raises during their time in office.

The potential salary increase isn't sitting well with Canadian Taxpayers Federation director Gregory Thomas.

"Nobody expects MPs to work for peanuts. But by going for a raise right now, MPs are saying they don't care about the huge deficit, they don't care about balancing the budget. It's more important to get a raise, even if they have to borrow the money to give themselves a raise," he said in an email to Yahoo! Canada News.

"By linking their own raise to raises for federal government employees, MPs are giving themselves a reason to for a big wage hike for all federal government employees.

"With this raise, MPs are identifying themselves as government employees, not representatives sent to Ottawa by taxpayers to control spending."

[ Related: NDP MP Pat Martin wants your help in paying his legal bills ]

Current Parliamentarian salaries: (source: Parliament of Canada website)

Base salary:

For all MPs: $157,731

Additional remuneration:

Prime Minister: $157,731

Speaker: $75,516

Official opposition leader: $75,516

Cabinet ministers: $75,516

Opposition house leader: $39,179

Parliamentary secretaries: $15,834