BONOKOSKI: Gold-plated pensions of our diligent MPs – Toronto Sun

Author of the article:

Mark Bonokoski

Publishing date:

Oct 09, 2021  •  7 hours ago  •  3 minute read  •  32 Comments

The good news is that Catherine McKenna won't be getting a pension, falling shy of the six years in office required for the gold-plated sinecure, writes Mark Bonokoski.
The good news is that Catherine McKenna won’t be getting a pension, falling shy of the six years in office required for the gold-plated sinecure, writes Mark Bonokoski. Photo by Jean Levac /Ottawa Citizen / Postmedia Network

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Catherine McKenna flew Hypocrite Air.

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The former Liberal minister of the environment and nine staffers — not one or two, but nine — spent nearly $42,000 and tens of thousands litres of aviation fuel on a farewell “climate change” tour of Canada, logging 22,000 kms. in 10 days to make speeches on global warming.

Shortly thereafter, she retired from politics.

“We need to reduce air pollution,” McKenna said during a July 27 stop in Edmonton, as first reported by Blacklock’s Reporter. “Consider that the transportation sector represents a quarter of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

And then she jetted off.

Air travel is a leading emitter (of air pollution) and should be avoided if unnecessary, said her friends at the David Suzuki Foundation.

“Think twice before you grab that great flight.”

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McKenna obviously didn’t think twice, instead signing out a kerosene-guzzling government jetliner for a two-week jaunt across Canada.

The good news is that she won’t be getting a pension, falling shy of the six years in office required for the gold-plated sinecure.

The bad news for the taxpayer is that a bunch of long-serving MPs are getting that pension.

Oh to have been elected in 2000 when I attempted but narrowly failed to get the Canadian Alliance nomination in John Baird’s old riding of Nepean-Carleton in Ottawa. Oh what a pension I would have if I had run the table.


Like Geoff Regan, for example. The Liberal MP for Halifax-West since 2000 will be collecting at age 65 — he’s 61 now — a yearly pension of $147,400, which, if he lives to 90, will total over $5 million.

And Wayne Easter, Liberal MP for Malpeque, Prince Edward Island since 1993, will be immediately collecting a yearly pension of $138,400.

Currently, the annual base salary for MPs is $185,800, which is damn fine money. Cabinet ministers and parliamentary secretaries receive more generous salaries and allowances, all of which reflects on their pensions.

Geoff Regan, for example, was a former cabinet minister as well as speaker of the house, which is why his pension is larger than Wayne Easter’s, who served as solicitor general in former prime minister Jean Chretien’s cabinet.


According to the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act, MPs have to contribute to the plan for at least six years before they can claim a pension.

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At a minimum, they would have a retirement allowance of just over $32,000 per year starting at age 65. This amount is indexed and becomes more generous based on the number of additional years of service.

Genevieve Tellier, professor of political studies at the University of Ottawa, told the CBC the whole topic of politicians’ pay and pensions is a bit taboo — elected officials don’t like talking about it because of the public’s perception that they have good salaries.

A member who does not reach six years of service before leaving office receives a lump sum as a retirement allowance, recovering their contributions with interest.


It has always been my contention that those who run for federal politics are driven by ego, the salary, and the pension — with exception being fringe candidates from parties like the Rhinoceros who do it purely for the fun of being outlandish.

But they rarely get profiled.

I attempted to run in 2000 because my ego thought I could defeat then Liberal defence minister David Pratt who bemoaned the number being sent to Europe to reclaim the remains of Canadian soldiers from the Second World War.

How many does it take to bring back a “bag of bones?” he said at the time.

This had not gone down well.

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