OTTAWA - When New Democrat MP Jim Maloway was elected in 2008, he had to fight to forego a pension from the Manitoba legislature while he sits in the House of Commons.
"I think we earn enough money," said Maloway, who estimates he is giving up $30,000 a year. "I don't think anybody thinks MPs are underpaid."
However, an analysis for The Canadian Press of filings by MPs to Parliament's ethics commissioner reveals that Maloway is the exception, not the rule.
Currently, 48 of Canada’s 308 MPs report collecting more than $10,000 a year in pensions, topping up their $157,731 annual salaries in the House of Commons.
And in 31 cases, those pensions are coming from governments — including nine from the federal government itself.
MPs do not have to report their precise pension income, only whether the amount is above $10,000 annually.
Liberal MP Marc Garneau, who served as an astronaut and head of the Canadian Space Agency, reported two federal pensions, one from the federal government, the second from the Canadian armed forces.
Conservative MPs Gordon O’Connor, Pierre Lemieux and Laurie Hawn are also getting pensions from the Canadian military.
Conservatives Guy Lauzon and Rob Clarke, New Democrat MP Denise Savoie and Bloc Québécois MP Roger Pomerleau reported pensions from the federal government. International development minister Bev Oda receives money under the federal government’s Public Service Superannuation Act.
Provincial governments and provincial agencies are paying out pensions to 17 federal MPs.
Quebec outstrips every other province, with 11 MPs receiving provincial pension cheques in addition to their MP paycheques.
Conservative Lawrence Cannon, New Democrat Thomas Mulcair and Bloc Québécois MP Serge Ménard are all former Quebec cabinet ministers.
And Liberals Irwin Cotler, Raymonde Folco as well as Bloc Québécois MPs Robert Carrier, Diane Bourgeois, Carole Freeman, Jean-Yves Laforest, Louis Plamondon and Yvon Levesque are getting cheques from the Quebec government or one of its agencies.
Newfoundland and Labrador pays pensions to two of its former MHA’s — Liberal Judy Foote and New Democrat Jack Harris. Former British Columbia Premier Ujjal Dosanjh gets a pension from his home province, as does Liberal Anita Neville in Manitoba and Conservative Greg Kerr, a former Nova Scotia cabinet minister.
Conservative Rick Norlock gets a pension from the Ontario Pension Board.
Revenue Minister Keith Ashfield’s office says that New Brunswick’s rules prohibit the former New Brunswick cabinet minister from collecting a pension while he serves in federal politics.
Five MPs supplement their income with municipal pensions, including NDP Leader Jack Layton, a former Toronto city councillor.
Liberal Alan Tonks reported income from three pension plans: the Ontario municipal employees pension plan (OMERS); the City of Toronto; and the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan.
Liberal Glen Pearson gets a pension from the London, Ont., fire department. Bloc MP Robert Bouchard gets one from the Ville de Saguenay while Conservative Dave MacKenzie lists a "pension right" from OMERS.
Eight MPs reported teacher pensions: Conservatives Alice Wong, Earl Dreeshan, Tilly O’Neill-Gordon, Inky Mark, Ray Boughen, Rick Casson and Joy Smith, as well as New Democrat Alex Atamanenko.
One MP, the Bloc's Yves Lessard, reported a union pension from Quebec’s Confédération des Syndicats Nationaux.
Eight MPs reported pensions from private companies. Liberal Lise Zarac gets a pension from Bell Canada while Ken Dryden, also a Liberal, collects a pension from the National Hockey League.
Conservative Peter Kent, a former television executive, gets a pension from Global Television while Bloc MP Daniel Paillé reported a pension from Quebecor. Conservative LaVar Payne’s pension is from Methanex while John Duncan’s is from Weyerhaeuser.
New Democrats Malcolm Allen’s pension comes from General Motors while Claude Gravelle’s is from Vale Inco.
Kevin Gaudet of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says he doesn't have a problem with MPs collecting pensions from private companies but is troubled by MPs also getting pension cheques from governments.
"It does smack of problems for taxpayers when elected officials, in effect, end up double-dipping at taxpayer expense."
Gaudet said more MPs should follow Maloway’s example and voluntarily forego other government pensions while they sit in the Commons.
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