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Scandal and leadership changes influencing the course of Canadian politics – North Country Public Radio

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<a class="noslideshow fancybox" data-fancybox title="Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Photo: Wladyslaw, Creative Commons, some rights reserved” href=”https://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/images/1280px-Ottawa_-_ON_-_Parliament_Hill.jpg”>

Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Photo: Wladyslaw, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Canadian politics could be approaching a crossroads. On Monday, August 17, Bill Morneau resigned as federal Finance Minister. Pressures had been mounting on Morneau due to his connections with the WE Charity scandal that emerged back in July. The federal government awarded a $43.5 million contract to WE to administer a $900 million student grant program. One of Morneau’s daughters had worked for WE and another daughter spoke at its events. Additionally, WE had paid more than $41,000 to Morneau for expenses he had made in connection with travel related to WE.

The political relationship between Morneau and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had supposedly deteriorated in recent weeks. Morneau allegedly wanted to keep spending under relative control, especially following the record amount of spending and resulting deficits due to the pandemic. Trudeau allegedly wanted to increase spending further on new environmentally related initiatives. Whether or not that disagreement is the real reason for Morneau’s departure remains to be seen. Trudeau is also facing scrutiny for connections to WE involving his wife Sophie Gregoire and his mother, Margaret Trudeau.

Following Morneau’s announcement, Trudeau appointed Chrystia Freeland, already the influential Deputy Prime Minister, as the new Finance Minister. Then, he was granted a request from embattled Governor-General Julie Payette to prorogue Parliament until the end of September, which means that the session was instantly ended, and all business halted, including committee investigations into the WE affair.

Parliament will return with a new set of priorities for the government, and speculation persists that it could lead to a sudden election campaign, which would likely put voting day sometime in November.

The governing Liberals could use a late autumn election to acquire a majority of seats in the House of Commons, after losing it in the 2019 election. The election could also be used a sort of plebiscite on the Liberal government’s management of the pandemic. 

However, the Liberals are probably most eager to put the opposition to the test. Today, (August 23), thousands of mail-in ballots will be counted in an Ottawa office building and a new Leader announced for the Conservative Party of Canada, which currently has the second highest number of seats in the House of Commons. Whoever wins the race could find themselves on another campaign very soon. The Liberals are likely eager to expose whatever weaknesses the new Conservative leader has in order to gain support at their expense. The new Conservative leader will be hoping to show they have what it takes to lead, exploit the WE scandal and whatever shortcomings the Liberals have on pandemic management, and win an election.

Four candidates have been seeking the Conservative leadership. The frontrunner from the start has been former Member of Parliament (MP) Peter MacKay, who served as a cabinet minister in Stephen Harper’s administration. MacKay is a moderate with even some progressive views on some matters and has extensive experience with how things go in Ottawa.

Support has also been strong for Erin O’Toole, an MP from central Ontario who also served in the Harper cabinet. O’Toole has presented himself as an authentic conservative throughout the campaign.

Toronto attorney Leslyn Lewis has received more support than expected during the leadership campaign. She has raised more than a million dollars, which is a noticeable sum for a relatively unknown candidate in Canadian politics. Lewis, an evangelical, has attracted many of the party’s social conservatives. She would be the first immigrant woman of color to lead a major national political party if she were to become Conservative leader.

The fourth candidate is Derek Sloan, an MP from eastern Ontario. Sloan’s social conservatism is even more significant than Lewis’. In April, he faced criticism for calling on Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam to resign and speculated she was working for communist China.

Depending on the outcome of the Conservative leadership race and how the Liberals hold onto power, the fall of 2020 could be interesting in Canadian politics.

As if 2020 has not been interesting enough already!

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16 MLAs retiring from BC politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation – Saanich News

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As a number of provincial politicians have bowed out of running for re-election ahead of Oct. 24, a national tax reform advocacy group is highlighting the cost of political retirement– to the tune of $20 million – with taxpayers footing the bill.

“While we thank these retiring politicians for their work, taxpayers need to know the huge cost of these gold-plated pensions,” said Kris Sims, B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

“These pensions simply aren’t affordable for taxpayers. MLAs need to reform their pension plan.”

According to the government, MLA pensions are calculated by taking the highest earning years of the retiring MLAs and factoring in their years of work. The annual pension payments are capped at 70 per cent of the highest earning years.

That means that for every $1 the politicians contribute to their own pension plans, taxpayers pay $4, Sims said.

“It’s time to end these rich pension schemes,” said Sims, adding that MLAs not seeking re-election are allowed to collect the equivalent of their salaries for up to 15 months while they look for new jobs, and they get up to $9,000 if they need skills training.

The federation calculated the expected pensions for 16 retiring MLAs, and determined that former house speaker and BC Liberal MLA Linda Reid is expected to collect the highest per-year amount, roughly $107,000 annually when she turns 65 years old.

Reid, who represented the Richmond South Centre since 1991, is the longest-serving woman in B.C.’s government history.

Other estimated pension totals for MLAs include:

  • Tracy Redies, B.C. Liberal MLA – ineligible due to less than six years in office.
  • Claire Trevena, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $80,000 per year, $1.9 million lifetime.
  • Shane Simpson, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $80,000 per year, $1.9 million lifetime.
  • Scott Fraser, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $80,000 per year, $1.9 million lifetime.
  • Carole James, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $82,000 per year, $2 million lifetime.
  • Michelle Mungall, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $58,000 per year, $1.4 million lifetime.
  • Judy Darcy, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $37,000 per year, $647,000 lifetime.
  • Doug Donaldson, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $58,000 per year, $1.4 million lifetime.
  • Rich Coleman, former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister – estimated $109,000 per year, $2.6 million lifetime.
  • John Yap, former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister – estimated $65,000 per year, $1.5 million lifetime
  • Darryl Plecas, Independent Speaker – estimated $38,000 per year, $714,000 lifetime.
  • Andrew Weaver, former Green Party Leader – estimated $31,000 per year, $764,000 lifetime.
  • Donna Barnett, B.C. Liberal MLA – estimated $46,000 per year, $400,000 lifetime.
  • Linda Larson – B.C. Liberal MLA – estimated $29,000 per year, $469,000 lifetime.
  • Ralph Sultan, former B.C. Liberal MLA – estimated $74,000 per year.
  • Linda Reid, former B.C. Liberal Speaker – estimated $107,000 per year, $2.6 million lifetime.

@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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16 MLAs retiring from BC politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation – Terrace Standard

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As a number of provincial politicians have bowed out of running for re-election ahead of Oct. 24, a national tax reform advocacy group is highlighting the cost of political retirement– to the tune of $20 million – with taxpayers footing the bill.

“While we thank these retiring politicians for their work, taxpayers need to know the huge cost of these gold-plated pensions,” said Kris Sims, B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

“These pensions simply aren’t affordable for taxpayers. MLAs need to reform their pension plan.”

According to the government, MLA pensions are calculated by taking the highest earning years of the retiring MLAs and factoring in their years of work. The annual pension payments are capped at 70 per cent of the highest earning years.

That means that for every $1 the politicians contribute to their own pension plans, taxpayers pay $4, Sims said.

“It’s time to end these rich pension schemes,” said Sims, adding that MLAs not seeking re-election are allowed to collect the equivalent of their salaries for up to 15 months while they look for new jobs, and they get up to $9,000 if they need skills training.

The federation calculated the expected pensions for 16 retiring MLAs, and determined that former house speaker and BC Liberal MLA Linda Reid is expected to collect the highest per-year amount, roughly $107,000 annually when she turns 65 years old.

Reid, who represented the Richmond South Centre since 1991, is the longest-serving woman in B.C.’s government history.

Other estimated pension totals for MLAs include:

  • Tracy Redies, B.C. Liberal MLA – ineligible due to less than six years in office.
  • Claire Trevena, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $80,000 per year, $1.9 million lifetime.
  • Shane Simpson, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $80,000 per year, $1.9 million lifetime.
  • Scott Fraser, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $80,000 per year, $1.9 million lifetime.
  • Carole James, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $82,000 per year, $2 million lifetime.
  • Michelle Mungall, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $58,000 per year, $1.4 million lifetime.
  • Judy Darcy, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $37,000 per year, $647,000 lifetime.
  • Doug Donaldson, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $58,000 per year, $1.4 million lifetime.
  • Rich Coleman, former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister – estimated $109,000 per year, $2.6 million lifetime.
  • John Yap, former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister – estimated $65,000 per year, $1.5 million lifetime
  • Darryl Plecas, Independent Speaker – estimated $38,000 per year, $714,000 lifetime.
  • Andrew Weaver, former Green Party Leader – estimated $31,000 per year, $764,000 lifetime.
  • Donna Barnett, B.C. Liberal MLA – estimated $46,000 per year, $400,000 lifetime.
  • Linda Larson – B.C. Liberal MLA – estimated $29,000 per year, $469,000 lifetime.
  • Ralph Sultan, former B.C. Liberal MLA – estimated $74,000 per year.
  • Linda Reid, former B.C. Liberal Speaker – estimated $107,000 per year, $2.6 million lifetime.

@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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BC politics

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16 MLAs retiring from BC politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation – Oak Bay News

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 on


As a number of provincial politicians have bowed out of running for re-election ahead of Oct. 24, a national tax reform advocacy group is highlighting the cost of political retirement– to the tune of $20 million – with taxpayers footing the bill.

“While we thank these retiring politicians for their work, taxpayers need to know the huge cost of these gold-plated pensions,” said Kris Sims, B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

“These pensions simply aren’t affordable for taxpayers. MLAs need to reform their pension plan.”

According to the government, MLA pensions are calculated by taking the highest earning years of the retiring MLAs and factoring in their years of work. The annual pension payments are capped at 70 per cent of the highest earning years.

That means that for every $1 the politicians contribute to their own pension plans, taxpayers pay $4, Sims said.

“It’s time to end these rich pension schemes,” said Sims, adding that MLAs not seeking re-election are allowed to collect the equivalent of their salaries for up to 15 months while they look for new jobs, and they get up to $9,000 if they need skills training.

The federation calculated the expected pensions for 16 retiring MLAs, and determined that former house speaker and BC Liberal MLA Linda Reid is expected to collect the highest per-year amount, roughly $107,000 annually when she turns 65 years old.

Reid, who represented the Richmond South Centre since 1991, is the longest-serving woman in B.C.’s government history.

Other estimated pension totals for MLAs include:

  • Tracy Redies, B.C. Liberal MLA – ineligible due to less than six years in office.
  • Claire Trevena, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $80,000 per year, $1.9 million lifetime.
  • Shane Simpson, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $80,000 per year, $1.9 million lifetime.
  • Scott Fraser, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $80,000 per year, $1.9 million lifetime.
  • Carole James, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $82,000 per year, $2 million lifetime.
  • Michelle Mungall, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $58,000 per year, $1.4 million lifetime.
  • Judy Darcy, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $37,000 per year, $647,000 lifetime.
  • Doug Donaldson, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $58,000 per year, $1.4 million lifetime.
  • Rich Coleman, former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister – estimated $109,000 per year, $2.6 million lifetime.
  • John Yap, former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister – estimated $65,000 per year, $1.5 million lifetime
  • Darryl Plecas, Independent Speaker – estimated $38,000 per year, $714,000 lifetime.
  • Andrew Weaver, former Green Party Leader – estimated $31,000 per year, $764,000 lifetime.
  • Donna Barnett, B.C. Liberal MLA – estimated $46,000 per year, $400,000 lifetime.
  • Linda Larson – B.C. Liberal MLA – estimated $29,000 per year, $469,000 lifetime.
  • Ralph Sultan, former B.C. Liberal MLA – estimated $74,000 per year.
  • Linda Reid, former B.C. Liberal Speaker – estimated $107,000 per year, $2.6 million lifetime.

@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

BC politics

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