Retiring local politicians Carole James and Andrew Weaver will receive annual payouts estimated at $87,000 and $34,000, respectively, under the pension plan for outgoing MLAs in B.C., according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. (Black Press Media file photos)

Retiring local politicians Carole James and Andrew Weaver will receive annual payouts estimated at $87,000 and $34,000, respectively, under the pension plan for outgoing MLAs in B.C., according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. (Black Press Media file photos)

Taxpayer watchdog howling over outgoing MLAs’ pension payouts

Carole James, Andrew Weaver among Island MLAs whose pensions are calculated by taxpayers federation

One of the country’s leading economic watchdogs is raising alarms over the cost to taxpayers of government pensions accrued by defeated and retiring MLAs in B.C.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) estimates that cost at approximately $27 million over the lifetime of outgoing MLAs, who include former deputy premier and finance minister Carole James, and former B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver.

Federation calculations estimate James’ annual pension at $82,000 per year, after serving 15 years in office. The annual pension for Weaver, who served for over seven years, is estimated at $31,000 per year.

James, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease earlier this year, stepped down for health reasons. Weaver announced his intention to step down as Green leader in 2019 due to a family health issue, and did not seek re-election.

RELATED STORY: 16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

“While we wish these [defeated and retiring] politicians well as they chart a new career course, taxpayers need to know the cost of these pensions,” Kris Sims, B.C. director of the CTF, said in a release. “These pensions simply aren’t affordable for taxpayers. Premier John Horgan needs to reform the MLA pension plan.”

The CTF pointed to the $1 personal to $4 public contribution breakdown as another reason to overhaul the program. “Most Canadians are lucky if their employer matches a dollar-for-dollar RRSP. There’s no justification for taxpayers to put in $4 for every $1 an MLA chips in,” Sims said.

Retiring Island MLAs due to receive a government pension include former transportation and infrastructure minister Claire Trevena (North Island) and former Indigenous relations and reconciliation minister Scott Fraser, (Mid-Island-Pacific Rim) whose pensions are both estimated at $80,000 per year after 15 years in office.

The CTF did not include an estimated payout for Liberal candidate and two-term MLA Michelle Stilwell, who lost in Parksville-Qualicum by less than 1,000 votes to the NDP’s Adam Walker in last Saturday’s election. If Stilwell remains defeated after mail-in ballots are counted, she would eventually be eligible for a pension of $28,000 per year, having served since May 2013 and been a cabinet minister.

The highest pension amount calculated by the CTF was for BC Liberal Rich Coleman, the longtime Liberal cabinet minister and 24-year MLA, who stands to make roughly $109,000 per year. Fellow Liberal Linda Reid, the former Speaker of the House and 29-year MLA, will receive an estimated $107,000 per year.

ALSO READ: Supreme Court of Canada sides with women in RCMP pension dispute over job-sharing

Much like other public service plans, MLA pensions are calculated taking the average of their highest earning years and factoring in years of service. The annual payments are no more than 70 per cent of their highest earning year.

MLAs not returning to the legislature are also allowed to collect the equivalent of their salaries for up to 15 months while searching for a new job, and can receive up to $9,000 for skills training.

Editor’s note: The updated figures contained in this story have been corrected from the information provided Oct. 28 by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.


 

Do you have a story tip? Email:don.descoteau@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.  
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Victoria-based orthopedic surgeon has been reprimanded after using sexualized language during a surgical consult with a pre-teen patient. (Pixabay)
Victoria doctor fined and reprimanded for calling pre-teen patient a ‘loose woman’

Dr. Bruce Taro Yoneda admitted to using sexualized language in surgical consult

Victoria police are asking for the public’s help locating Alexander Stokes, 19. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police searching for missing teen

Police looking to ensure safety of Alexander Stokes, 19

Capital Regional District Animal Control say an eight-month-old Rottweiler bit a Langford mother and her child near Glen Lake on Nov. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Large dog attacks mother and child in Langford

Mother puts three-year-old on top of car to protect him

Anvy Technologies CEO Victor Nicolov displays his company’s innovative garbage disposal device, the Sepura. (Courtesy of Anvy Technologies)
Goodbye garburator, this Victoria company has a clean composting solution

Sepura has made Times Magazine’s ‘100 Best Inventions of 2020’ for its hassle-free functioning

Sweetpal Chauhan, operator of several Shell Gas stations in Greater Victoria, donated 100 jackets and 100 sleeping bags to Our Place on Friday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Victoria businessman donates 100 jackets, 100 sleeping bags to Our Place

Warm jackets, sleeping bags can mean the ‘difference between life and death’

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Phillip Tallio was just 17 when he was convicted of murder in 1983 (file photo)
Miscarriage of justice before B.C. teen’s 1983 guilty plea in girl’s murder: lawyer

Tallio was 17 when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his 22-month-old cousin

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday Nov. 23, 2020, that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
VIDEO: How do the leading COVID vaccines differ? And what does that mean for Canada?

All three of the drug companies are incorporating novel techniques in developing their vaccines

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

7-year-old Mackenzie Hodge from Penticton sent a hand-written letter to premiere John Horgan asking if she’d be able to see her elf, Ralph under the new coronavirus restrictions. (John Horgan / Twitter)
Elf on the shelf an acceptable house guest, B.C. premier tells Penticton girl

A 7-year-old from Penticton penned a letter asking if she’d be allowed to see her elf this year

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

Most Read