Surrey-Cloverdale B.C. Liberal MLA Kevin Falcon

‘Gold-plated’ pensions a balm for election losers

Retirees, defeated MLAs to share $26 million in payouts

A long list of departing MLAs – both Liberals and New Democrats – are now in line for lucrative pensions, whether they retired voluntarily or were defeated at the polls.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation estimates the total payouts to MLAs who didn’t win or seek re-election could top $26 million. The government injects $4 for every dollar politicians contribute, and the resulting pensions are also inflation adjusted.

“The MLA pension payout ATM is spitting out cash at a rate taxpayers can only dream of,” CTF B.C. director Jordan Bateman said. “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.”

Departing NDP MLAs in the Lower Mainland and their estimated payouts to age 80 include: Surrey-Fleetwood NDP MLA Jagrup Brar ($555,000), Delta North NDP MLA Guy Gentner ($500,000), Coquitlam-Maillardville’s Diane Thorne ($461,000) and Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge MLA Michael Sather ($490,000). Several others, including Port Moody-Coquitlam by-election winner Joe Trasolini, get nothing because they have less than the six years of service required to qualify.

Outgoing Liberal MLAs include: Gordon Campbell in Vancouver-Point Grey ($1.7 million),  Colin Hansen in Vancouver-Quilchena ($1.54 million), Barry Penner in Chilliwack-Hope ($1.35 million), Kevin Falcon in Surrey-Cloverdale ($1.09 million), Randy Hawes in Abbotsford-Mission ($847,000), Harry Bloy in Burnaby-Lougheed ($720,000), Chilliwack’s John Les ($835,000), Surrey-Tynehead’s Dave Hayer ($824,000) and Joan McIntyre in West Vancouver-Sea to Sky ($568,000).

Defeated Abbotsford independent John Van Dongen, who served for years as a B.C. Liberal, exits with a pension valued at $1.48 million.

First-year payouts range from $30,000 to as much as $98,000 in Campbell’s case.

Exiting MLAs also get up to 15 months of severance at the $101,859 MLA annual salary and includes a top-up if the politician takes a job at less than six figures. They’re 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,” Bateman said. “Taxpayers are on the hook for millions just to transition these politicians back to the real world.”

He noted the B.C. Liberals ran against “gold-plated” pensions in 1996 and then NDP premier Glen Clark brought in a fairer, dollar-for-dollar system. But the Liberals in 2007 brought back ultra-generous pensions and let MLAs buy back missing years of service.

The CTF didn’t include Premier Christy Clark in its calculation, but says if she doesn’t get a seat elsewhere her lifetime pension would be $1.03 million.

Surrey’s Jagrup Brar was one of the defeated NDP MLAs who will now receive a pension estimated to be worth $555,000. Brar is pictured above in January of 2012, when he agreed to live on welfare for a month.

Just Posted

New surcharge for Harrison boaters

Small boat launch surcharge to fund KHSAR

POLL: How should Harrison deal with goose poop?

Monday’s council meeting raised questions about the best way to handle waste around the beach

Sts’ailes First Nation to vote on land code

Land Code would remove nation from 34 sections of Indian Act

KPU campuses go smoke-free starting Jan. 21 – and that includes vaping

‘We didn’t make this decision lightly’ says prez of the Surrey-based institution

Trial begins for man charged with 2010 murder of Mandy Johnson

Langley single mom was fatally shot while in vehicle in Abbotsford

Find Your Fit tour comes to Agassiz

Gives students hands-on experience with career-planning tools

B.C. man, 21, accused of impersonating a police officer

Arrest warrant issued for Surrey man after two women in a vehicle in Langley chased by fake cop car

Opinion: Dare to be smarter

Just say no works for more than just substance abuse

‘Sing Me a Song’ about B.C. for a chance at $1,000 contest prize

Entries due by March 30 for lieutenant-governor’s British Columbia-themed competition

Facing reality of death, B.C. man learns real meaning of life

Even while preparing for the end, something inside Keven Drews won’t let him stop living

Former B.C. fire chief gets seven months for possession of child porn

The 63-year-old pleaded guilty during a brief hearing last year to one count

B.C. VIEWS: Public school ‘crisis’ doesn’t exist

More teachers pour in, union wants results suppressed

Input sought for major road works for Maple Ridge

Consultation on Haney Bypass upgrades

Pitt councillors don’t support CP Rail underpass

Gateway projects will need city support says MP Ruimy

Most Read