EDITORIAL: Pensions are disgraceful

Who says it doesn’t pay to be a politician? With the B.C. Liberals in a freefall, a number of MLAs have decided to leave politics

Who says it doesn’t pay to be a politician? With the B.C. Liberals in a freefall and the provincial election 10 months away, a number of MLAs have decided to leave politics.

Much is made by some about the sacrifices made by politicians, of the time spent away from family, of the decision to take a break from their career passion – all to serve the public good. While it is always admirable to see men and women take an active part in the democratic process, make no mistake – it is a decision that often pays dividends far beyond anything a working stiff will ever realize.

Surrey-Tynehead MLA Dave Hayer is one of the latest B.C. Liberals to decide against seeking re-election next year. According to Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation (CTF) figures, 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 Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Kevin Krueger will enjoy an annual pension of $87,700 when he turns 65, rising to $115,700 when he turns 80. The MLA pension plan is indeed gold-plated as taxpayers chip in $4 for every dollar the MLA contributes.

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 plan, in which taxpayers match every dollar the MLA contributed. In 2007, however, Campbell reversed his position and brought back a ridiculously rich pension, even allowing MLAs to buy back years lost.

Political pension plans 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.

 

– Black Press