Retiring MLA denies pension plans

Constituency association will begin process soon for candidate

George Abbott refutes accusations that he is pocketing a gold-plated pension.

The Shuswap MLA is among the retiring politicians identified by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation for the taxpayer-assisted pension they could receive.

“Jordan Bateman (CTF director) is welcome to his opinion but I’m too young to retire and that’s the farthest thing from my mind,” said Abbott, 59.

Abbott will not seek re-election in May after 17 years in office.

According to the CTF, Abbott will receive an $89,084 pension in year one and $1.54 million over a lifetime.

“While regular taxpayers struggle to put a few dollars aside for their own retirements, we are paying out millions to retiring politicians,” said Bateman.

Bateman added that taxpayers contribute $4 for every $1 an MLA provides to the pension plan.

“These pensions send the wrong message to public sector unions — that somehow there is more than enough money for gold-plated pension plans funded by taxpayers and borrowed money.”

Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee MLA, insists Abbott has been a tremendous asset to his constituents and the province.

“I’m sad to see George retire,” said Foster.

“He’s been a great MLA and cabinet minister and as a new MLA, I went to him a lot because he knows our area.”

And the process to replace Abbott will begin soon.

It’s anticipated that the Shuswap Liberals could have a candidate in place by the end of October.

“These are extremely big shoes to fill but we will come up with good people stepping forward,” said Brian Cowan, constituency president, who is confident about the party’s chance in the provincial election.

“We will remain Liberal in our area.”

Cowan supports Abbott’s decision to retire.

“I am sad for the area and the people he served but I am happy for him. It’s good to see he will have time to do the things he wants to do,” said Cowan.