McLeod pledges support for MP pension reform
Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod is pledging her support for a reform of MP pensions the Conservative Party of Canada is expected to introduce this fall.
According to news reports, the governing Conservatives are looking to change the rules for MP pensions, introducing longer waits to collect and increasing the amount members pay into their plans.
Under the new scheme, MPs would have to wait until age 65 to collect pension benefits, instead of 55.
The Globe and Mail reports there is also a plan to shift that number to 67 — the age at which Canadians will be eligible to receive Old Age Security benefits in 2029, after the Conservatives tweaked the program in their last budget bill.
The changes would kick in with the 2015 election and aren’t expected to affect benefits sitting MPs have already accumulated.
While she said she isn’t “privy to details” of the new pension legislation, McLeod said the changes are likely to show up in the Conservative’s next budget-implementation bill, which will be introduced this fall.
“I’ve always said I will support changes to the pension,” McLeod told KTW.
“I’ve heard loud and clear from many of our constituents that they feel MPs are not paying their fair share. And, I’ve indicated for many months that I’ll support changes.”
McLeod declined to speak to reports that the pension-reform plan has caused friction inside the Tory caucus, saying she doesn’t comment on caucus discussions.
A report by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation released in January said McLeod will be eligible for an annual pension of $35,385 by the next federal election in 2015.
If she keeps her seat until 2019, her pension would jump to $56,227 annually under the current rules.
The CTF has called for a new pension program for MPs, where government matches individual contributions dollar-for-dollar.
While she said MP pensions should fall more in line with those of other Canadians, McLeod declined to say what she thinks the plan should look like.
“I think we need to wait for the legislation to be introduced,” she said, “and I think MPs should be paying their fair share of the pension.”