The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) has calculated the pensions of all MLAs who did not win or seek re-election and the total payout could top $26 million, according to taxpayer.com.
MLAs are eligible for pensions after six years of service. Pensions increase by the rate of inflation every year, and can be collected at age 65. The CTF’s lifetime estimate figures assume the individual lives to age 80. Taxpayers put in $4 for every $1 a politician pays into their pension account.
“The MLA pension payout ATM is spitting out cash at a rate taxpayers can only dream of,” said Jordan Bateman, CTF B.C. Director. “A dozen former MLAs will soon join the million dollar pension club – while most of us are scraping together every nickel we can find for our own retirements.”
These numbers assume MLAs “bought back” missing time from 1996 to 2007, when there was a far more modest pension system in place. The list of MLAs who bought back has been kept secret, but the CTF have yet to hear from any of the retirees that they didn’t buy back that missing time.
Exiting MLAs also receive up to 15 months of severance at the $101,859 MLA annual salary—which includes a top-up if the politician takes a job at less than six figures. They are also eligible for up to $9,000 in “training” funds.
“Not only do these MLAs receive overly generous pensions, they get a severance package and training money,” said Bateman. “Taxpayers are on the hook for millions just to transition these politicians back to the real world.”
Bateman noted that in 1996, the BC Liberals ran against this type of gold-plated pension plan, and that NDP Premier Glen Clark brought in a fairer, dollar-for-dollar system. Unfortunately, the BC Liberals flip-flopped in 2007, bringing back a gold-plated plan and allowing MLAs to buy back missing years of service.
Not included in this list or $26 million total is Premier Christy Clark, who lost her Vancouver-Point Grey seat last night. In the highly unlikely event she does not seek a seat elsewhere, her year 1 pension would start at $59,900 for a lifetime total of $1.03 million.
Some prominent names on the pension roll now include:
Gordon Campbell (Vancouver-Point Grey; 15 years): $98,175 year 1; $1.7 million lifetime
*left office in 2011
Dave Hayer (Surrey-Tynehead; 12 years): $47,600 year 1; $824,000 lifetime
Kash Heed (Vancouver Fraserview; 4 years): Ineligible—less than six years of service
Harry Lali (Fraser-Nicola; 14 years): $63,886 year 1; $1.1 million lifetime
Jagrup Brar (Surrey-Fleetwood; 9 years): $32,114 year 1; $555,000 lifetime
Kevin Krueger (Kamloops-South Thompson; 17 years): $87,700 year 1; $1.5 million lifetime
Pat Bell (Prince George-Mackenzie; 12 years): $63,109 year 1; $1.09 million lifetime
Kevin Falcon (Surrey-Cloverdale; 12 years): $62,893 year 1; $1.09 million lifetime