MP Pensions By The Numbers

Last week, the group called attention to the new list of MPs qualifying for the pension plan by putting 75 plastic pigs on the front lawn of Parliament Hill. Watson's name was on one of them.

Also included was disgraced former Tory MP Helena Guergis. Each is entitled to $32,000 to $44,000 a year once they turn 55, even if they stop working as MPs at the end of the month.
The issue here is whether or not a pension that pays out $30k / year is excessive or unreasonable.

Let's do the math here. The nest egg someone would need to amass to ensure a $30k /year retirement is somewhere in the range of $500k to $1million.

Let's presume that the average qualifying period for this pension is 8 years. That's the equivalent of around 47k to 95k a year stashed away based on an interest rate of 3 to 6% and annual inflation of 2%.

The average MP salary is around $150k/yr. That's a final benefit adjusted salary of 200k to 300k a year. The average MP also has about $280 k of miscellaneous expenses every year. That brings the average MP's annual salary + benefits to about 500k to 600 k a year.

Comartin is also under fire from the group after making remarks in a recent radio interview. He said MPs are comparable to the "semi-elite" of the working world and should be at the level of upper management or even professional athletes in terms of their pensions.

If we took Mr Comartin's basis for this evaluation of what an MP's salary should be then we should compare an MP's salary to the average salary of a an executive at a private corporation. (I quite frankly think that a professional athlete's pay is just an unreasonable comparison).

The average board member of a corporation earns $139k/yr.

As far as I can tell there are no "pensions" for directors on corporate boards for the most part. Travel fees are reimbursed. I did find that the Bank of Montreal directly lists total compensation packages for Director's. If we use a BMO director as obtaining a "typical" level of compensation for a director in private industry, at about 40 meetings a year the average director has a total compensation of salary + fees of somewhere in the range of 200k to 300k / year.

The basic conclusion of these numbers is that the compensation that MPs receive in Ottawa is nearly double what their private sector counterparts get.

Is that excessive? If these MPs were cars, and I had to buy an MP-car I would say they're overpriced.