MPs to pay half of their pensions now

Maple Ridge rep hopes people will see it as genuine attempt to pay their share, which will triple by 2017

MP Randy Kamp would receive $55

The gravy train is over for federal MPs after all 308 Members of Parliament agreed on pension changes Friday.

“I hope people see it as a genuine attempt for us to pay our share,” Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission MP Randy Kamp said Tuesday.

Starting next year, the annual amount MPs contribute to their pension plan will start increasing beyond the $11,000 they now pay, which make up about 14 per cent of the contributions that go into their plan.

By 2017, MPs will be paying $35,000 into their plan yearly, which will be half the total contributions.

“We believe that we should be compensated fairly, but not too generously, because obviously taxpayers are paying for that.

“This is a way for us to pay our share.”

The eligibility period for which MPs can also collect their full pension also changes. Now they’ll have to work to 65 before sitting back and collecting full benefits, whereas currently 55 is retirement age.

“So we’re going to start to pay more, but the key age of 65 is not going to become active until after the next election.”

That will be in October 2015.

According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, if Kamp retires in 2015, after serving 11 years, he’ll earn a yearly pension of $55,290 – or $1.19 million over a lifetime.

That number shouldn’t change, Kamp said Tuesday.

The House of Commons voted unanimously on the change Friday, passing all three stages of the bill after the Liberals made that suggestion.

“It happens every once in a while,” when all parties agree, Kamp added.

His basic salary as MP for 2012 is $157,731. He earns another $15,834 as parliamentary secretary to Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield.

That’s been frozen for the past three years.

The freeze of MP salaries was part of the first budget under the Economic Action Plan, Kamp pointed out.

Last summer, the taxpayers launched a national “Fed up?” billboard campaign, telling taxpayers they’re dishing out $24 into MPs’ pension plans for every dollar contributed by the politicians.