Our demure MPs


The NDP’s Nathan Cullen explains why MPs are so hesitant to talk about the possibility of losing out on a pension.

“It’s an awkward conversation for us because we’re talking about ourselves,” said Cullen. “I want to talk about the health of the country, [or] which way the government is going, and this stuff is about [personal] finances.”


Our demure MPs

  1. I can see why MP's deserve pensions, but at the same time this is a case in point of how monetary reward can potentially influence political judgment. I also don't understand why MP's pay scale varies based on what work they do. Would it really be hard filling Parliamentary committees if serving on them didn't deliver a pay hike? If so, we'd probably get the most public-spirited members on them, which wouldn't hurt one bit.

    • I suppose one could argue that in the absence of high pay, MPs would be more vulnerable to bribery. Then again, we've seen ample evidence in recent decades that greed is boundless for some.

      I seem to recall an article in Macleans (maybe it was linked in the blogs) about how very tough it can be for retired and defeated MPs to return to private life – not the least of which can involve getting a job. For every Mulroney, McCallum and Manley who can easily find work, there are many others who lack the profile and the contacts to ensure a soft landing.

      Just a few thoughts!

      • Good points, and I appreciate the hard-landing problem; though I'd have thought that would go for short-term MP's as much as for long-term ones.

        • And your point is well taken too. The professionalization of politics has hardly been a uniform boon for modern democracies.

        • Just a slight clarification: MPs don't get a pay hike for serving on a committee, just for chairing one — and that's because it actually does involve a fair amount of extra work. It's an extra $10,500 a year, I believe, which doesn't seem that out of line to me, really.

  2. To be fair, what on earth do we expect them to say? And if the National Post wants to come out and say that MPs are being swayed in their desire to avoid an election by this particular form of self-interest, then they should be forthright about it.

    Compensation for MPs is a perfectly vaild issue to examine at any time, but it seems a bit of a weasel tactic to raise it now. Unless there's been some indication that MPs are lobbying to avoid an election on that basis.

    • Especially when not all of the MPs listed are actually in any real danger of losing their seat. I asked that question on twitter earlier, and PunditsGuide — the always obliging oracle of matters electoral — estimated that only two or three from each party were likely to face a serious challenge. Somehow, I don't think Ted Menzies is lying awake at night worrying about his parliamentary pension.

      • I lie awake at night worrying about my parliamentary pension, and I'm not even in Parliament.

  3. Sorry, quite right! My mistake; and that sounds more than reasonable.

  4. We need a new label for the political coverage at the National Post. "Conservative Propaganda Machine" doesn't properly capture it.

    Incidentally, I'm a regular reader — love the cryptic crossword.

  5. This is a good argument for more elections. After all, why should some one term blunder get a golden handshake simply because they made it past some arbitrary time limit. I say an MP should only get a pension after they've won their second election.

    • An M.P. has to be in office for six years to qualify for the pension. Therefore one has to be a two-term blunder.

  6. Shouldn't be a problem for Reform-Alliance-Conservative MPs. They rejected
    the "gold-plated" stuff. Right ?

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