Randy Kamp will receive $55,000 per year for his MP’s pension immediately after he retires from federal politics after the Oct. 19 election, under a pension scheme the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation describes as “Ridiculously out of whack.”
But Kamp points out that the Conservative government has changed the rules. Although Conservatives are being criticized in the media for leaving politics before the new rules kick in, Kamp says the pension changes are not motivating MPs to leave federal politics.
Attorney General Peter MacKay has bore the brunt of the criticism – he will have a pension of approximately $129,000 when he retires. The 49-year-old will be eligible to collect it in full at age 55, but if he sticks around for another term he would have to wait until 65 to collect his full pension, under the new rules.
The new plan will also see MPs make a larger contribution to their pensions.
Retirement age is a non-issue for Kamp, who turns 62 in August, and in any case would be eligible for his full pension at the end of another term if he chose to run.
Aaron Wudrick of the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation, which has long campaigned against the MP’s “gold plated” pension scheme, said there is a financial advantage for MacKay in deciding not to run, and that is true of other MPs as well.
The CTF has calculated Kamp’s pension at $55,290, after 11 years of service, and if he lives to the age of 90 he will receive more than $2 million from taxpayers.
Wudrick’s group investigated whether there is an exodus of MPs in the year that the pension rules change. There are about 50 incumbents, including more than 30 Conservatives, who have announced plans to retire before the pension changes come into effect.
“We actually found that it’s fairly average, in terms of the numbers retiring,” he said. “I expect a handful more (to leave politics). If you were on the fence, why wouldn’t you leave.”
Kamp said if he was financially motivated, he would try to keep his job – the MP’s annual salary is $160,000 per year, and Kamp gets $15,000 extra as parliamentary secretary to the fisheries minister.
“For me, it certainly wasn’t a factor, one way or the other,” said Kamp, and added that when he talks to other MPs who are not running, nobody mentions the pension changes.
“It’s still a pretty well-paying job,” said Kamp, and he agreed that MPs should be putting more of their own money toward their pensions.
“I think they’re pretty good changes.”
The CTF agrees.
“We’re very happy with the changes that have been made,” said Wudrick.
Under the old pension rules, MPs would contribute $1 to their pension for every $24 by the public. Now the ratio will be $1 for every $1.62.
Wudrick noted that the past two prime ministers, the long serving Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, both receive about $25,000 per month from their pensions.