What’s fair here?

I have been researching the pension plan offered to Members of Parliament and have found it to be a lavish expenditure

Dear editor:

For the past few weeks I have been researching the pension plan offered to Members of Parliament and have found it to be a lavish expenditure of taxpayers’ money – an expenditure that we Canadians cannot afford.

Please consider the following :

• Canada is currently in debt more than $580 billion dollars with the debt increasing every day.

• MPs receive between $157,000 and $314,000 per year – the average Canadian earns $45,000 per year.

• After six years of service, MPs are entitled to a pension when they reach the age of 55 – the government is discussing raising the age of a Canadian pension to 67.

An MP’s pension is calculated at 3 per cent X years of service X salary — the average MP pension is $78,000 per year.

Most Canadians do not have a work related pension, their retirement income is based on what they’re able to save with a small supplement in the form of government pensions.

MP’s pensions are not invested and subject to fluctuations.

An MP’s pension is banked and the Canadian taxpayer ensures that the fund grows at a rate of 10.4 per cent per year.

Most Canadians relying on investment income have seen their income decline due to record low interest rates.

Tony Clement, a long time Conservative and future recipient of the MP pension plan has been entrusted to review the plan. Is this not a conflict of interest?

Whenever I speak with anyone —  MPs excluded — they tell me that they know the MP’s pension plans are unfair and unaffordable. They then shrug and say something to the effect of, “What can you do?”

The truth is that individuals can do little (but) as a group can do a lot.

If everyone who felt as I do called or emailed their MP and expressed their concerns, the government would need to listen.

If everyone concerned about this huge expense printed out a petition from the government website, filled it out urging an independent, apolitical review of MP’s pension pans and got a least 25 people to sign it, their local MP would be required to present it in parliament.

Silence implies consent.

As long as we say nothing, Members of Parliament are free to assume the taxpayers see nothing wrong with their level of remuneration.

We are only powerless to affect change if we believe ourselves to be so.

Andrea D’Andrea

Maple Ridge, B.C.