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Rich pensions soothe MPs' pain of defeat
Nine defeated or retiring MPs from B.C. are in line to collect a combined $18.6 million in pension benefits now that they're out of office.
Surrey's two MPs defeated in Monday's federal election – Conservative Dona Cadman (Surrey-North) and Liberal Sukh Dhaliwal (Newton-North Delta) – did not serve the minimum six years to qualify for what the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) calls the lucrative "fat-cat MP pensions."
Instead those two will receive only $79,000 in severance.
But taxpayers federation national research director Derek Fildebrandt said the province's other federal MPs turfed by voters Monday night or who chose to retire "should find a nice soft landing with their 'golden parachute.'"
Conservative MP Gary Lunn, defeated by Green Party leader Elizabeth May in Saanich-Gulf Islands, leaves with $2.2 million in future pension entitlements.
Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh, defeated in Vancouver South, leaves with a pension worth $830,000.
The biggest payout will go to Liberal MP Keith Martin, who retired from his Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca seat with a pension of $3.9 million.
Conservatives Jay Hill (Prince George-Peace River) and Chuck Strahl (Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon), both retired from federal politics with $3.3 million pensions.
Tory MP John Cummins (Delta-Richmond East), who retired from federal politics to head the B.C. Conservative party, now gets a pension worth $1.33 million.
Conservative retiree Stockwell Day (Okanagan-Coquihalla) gets a package worth $1.67 million, Kootenay-Columbia Tory MP Jim Abbott retires with $1.36 million and the NDP's Bill Siksay (Burnaby-Douglas) takes away $732,000.
All the qualifying B.C. MPs can opt to start collecting their pensions immediately.
The taxpayers federation argues the current pension system for federal politicians is too rich, contributing $4 for every dollar contributed by an MP.
It favours a dollar-for-dollar matching formula now used in Saskatchewan and Ontario.
"The vast majority of Canadians working in the private sector have no private pension plan of their own and those few who do, normally have defined-contribution, RRSP-style plans," Fildebrandt said.
"Most Canadians have to save for their retirements the old-fashion way. MPs by contrast are guaranteed a steady payout regardless of how investments and the market perform."