Don Meredith eligible for pension because he resigned, avoided expulsion
Don Meredith is eligible to collect his parliamentary pension because he resigned from the Senate before facing an expulsion vote, Treasury Board officials say.
If Meredith had been expelled — a motion his former colleagues were set to vote on in the coming days — he would have had to forgo future pension payments, but would have had contributions he made to the plan reimbursed.
His resignation became official Wednesday as Gov. Gen. David Johnston received a hard copy of his resignation letter and sent it on to the Red Chamber to begin the process of removing Meredith from the membership list, recouping Senate resources, and vacating his office.
‘If the Conservatives are looking to blame someone for Senator Meredith’s pension, they should look at themselves in the mirror.’ – Scott Brison, Treasury Board president
Senate Speaker George Furey’s office told CBC News that Meredith’s name would be removed from the Senate and Library of Parliament websites shortly. He is now officially considered a former senator.
Conservative Senator Leo Housakos, the chair of the powerful internal economy committee, called on Treasury Board President Scott Brison to block future pension payments to the disgraced senator — a request that was dismissed by Brison Wednesday.
“Senator Housakos is either ignorant of Senate policy and the law that governs this, which is an act of Parliament, or he’s spinning this,” Brison told reporters in the foyer of the House of Commons.
The Nova Scotia cabinet minister said pensions are governed not by Treasury Board policy, but by legislation amended by the former Conservative government: the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act.
As per the legislation, if a parliamentarian resigns and has at least six years of pensionable service, they are entitled to receive a pension.
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Any changes to the act would require a legislative amendment by Parliament, but Brison said changes could not be applied retroactively to Meredith.
Meredith, 52, reached the magic number a few months ago, in December 2016, six years after his appointment by former prime minister Stephen Harper. The former Toronto-area senator will collect approximately $24,000 annually starting at age 60, according to calculations provided to CBC News by the Senate in March.
“The Conservatives are trying to deflect from their responsibility and prime minister Harper’s responsibility for naming Senator Meredith. If the Conservatives are looking to blame someone for Senator Meredith’s pension, they should look at themselves in the mirror,” Brison said.
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