No money woes for MLAs

Political pension plans at the provincial and federal levels are a disgrace

Who says it doesn’t pay to be a politician — even for a blink of an eye?

With the B.C. Liberals in a freefall and the provincial election 10 months away, a number of MLAs are leaving politics. While it is always admirable to see men and women take an active part in the democratic process, it is indeed a decision that often pays lucrative dividends far beyond anything a working stiff will ever realize.

According to Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation figures, Dave Hayer’s 12 years in office will give him an annual pension that will start at $47,600 when he turns 65 and climb to $62,900 when he turns 80.

The CTF estimates Kevin Krueger will enjoy an annual pension of $87,700 when he turns 65, one that will rise to $115,700 when he turns 80. All that for 17 years in office. The MLA pension plan is indeed gold-plated as taxpayers chip in $4 for every dollar the MLA contributes.

More maddening is the fact the B.C. Liberals, under then-leader Gordon Campbell, campaigned in the 1996 election against exorbitant pension plans. The NDP won and implemented a reasonable pension plan, one in which the taxpayer would add $1 for every dollar the MLA contributed.

In 2007, however, Campbell reversed his position and brought back a trough-laden pension.

Political pension plans at the provincial and federal levels are a disgrace and do nothing to counter the perception (which is reality) that entering the political arena is the path to setting yourself up for life, with your retirement funded well by taxpayers who can barely get by.

— Black Press