Dozens of MPs also collecting government pensions

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Dozens of members of Parliament are collecting thousands of dollars a year in pensions — several of them from the same federal government that issues their six-figure paycheques, CBC News has learned.

A CBC analysis of the ethics filings of Canada’s 338 MPs found that 36 MPs reported receiving pension income on top of their salaries. Nearly 20 per cent of those MPs were getting pensions from either the federal government or the Canadian Armed Forces.

Most MPs are getting pensions from various levels of government or public service jobs. Only two MPs are receiving pensions from private sector companies: New Democrat Scott Duvall, who gets a pension from steel producer ArcelorMittal Dofasco, and Conservative Peter Kent, 74, who gets a pension from Global Communications.

One MP, 72-year-old Liberal Ramesh Sangha, is collecting a pension from India’s air force.

While roughly half are 65 years or older, some of the double-dippers are as young as 48.

Under the rules for ethics filings, MPs are supposed to advise Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson if they receive more than $10,000 in pension income per year.

The current annual salary for members of Parliament is $172,700, while cabinet ministers earn a total of $255,300.

Views vary on whether an MP should be getting a pension cheque with one hand, and a paycheque with the other.

Some MPs, like former NDP MP Jim Maloway, have elected to not receive pensions from past jobs while sitting in the House of Commons. Others, like Liberal MP John McKay, 69, who began collecting his Canada Pension Plan benefits at 65, point out that MPs are simply collecting the pensions they earned.

“I can’t imagine why anyone would begrudge anyone else for money that they have actually earned,” he said.

Brampton Liberal candidate Ramesh Sangha

Brampton Liberal MP Ramesh Sangha gets a pension from India’s air force. (Submitted: Carey Miller)

Federal public servants who return to the federal government after retiring face restrictions. Those who take a job where they are again contributing to the pension plan must suspend their pension cheques while serving in those positions.

The government’s contracting policy calls for contracts awarded to retired public servants collecting a pension to “bear the closest public scrutiny.”

Those rules, however, don’t apply to members of Parliament who have their own, separate pension plan.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau, 68, who was a naval officer, then an astronaut before becoming executive vice-president of the Canadian Space Agency, is getting two federal pensions in addition to his paycheque: one from the Canadian Armed Forces and the second from the Canadian government.

Garneau’s office was tight-lipped when asked about his pensions.

“The Minister receives a pension for the time he has served as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces,” communications director Marc Roy wrote in an email. “As per the Code for Members and the Conflict of Interest Act, all the rules in terms of disclosure and divestment are appropriately followed.”

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Dozens of MPs also collecting government pensions

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