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Tax group's billboards target MP pensions

Sep 07 2012

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has taken its ongoing campaign to highlight what it perceives as the "lopsided" pension plan for federal MPs to Nanaimo.

A new federation billboard on Highway 19, outside of Lantzville, says: "For every $1 a MP puts into their pensions, taxpayers put in $24."

Jordan Bateman, the non-profit citizens group's director in B.C., said that the billboard is one of six placed in cities across the country during the summer. It is the first one on Vancouver Island.

He said he hopes Canadians will put pressure on MPs, opposition leaders and Prime Minister Stephen Harper before the government comes out with its plan for MP pension reform this fall.

Bateman said that if Nanaimo-Alberni MP James Lunney, in whose riding the new billboard is located, retired in 2015, he would receive a lifetime pension of $75,000 a year. If he left office in 2019, it would rise to $94,000 a year.

"The MP platinum pension plan is the peak of political pork," Bateman said. "We want to ensure that when the government moves forward with its plans to modify the MP pension plan this fall, it's replaced with a fairer one for all taxpayers."

Bateman said the group wants to see a new RRSPstyle pension plan.

Lunney said he didn't decide to run for public office for the pension and that he expects significant changes to the pension plan.

"I had no say in the current plan and I am willing to accept and go along with any changes that are decided on," Lunney said.

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