MLAs, MPs receive retirement riches

Re: Retiring MLAs sitting pretty, Opinion, July 17.

To the Editor,

Re: Retiring MLAs sitting pretty, Opinion, July 17.

With Premier Christy Clark’s poll numbers in a dizzying downward tailspin pointing to what could be a spectacular blaze-out, some members of her B.C. Liberal Party caucus have already seen the writing on the snake-pit wall, and are slithering for the doors marked ‘Exit’.

We, the Great Unwashed who watch such political antics, surmise that these are the first ripples of what may turn out to be a tidal wave of retirements and defections from the party that has so obviously betrayed the trust of, and lost the faith with, the electorate.

Among those who will either not run, or will get defeated, in next year’s provincial election are many first elected in 1996 – just after Gordon Campbell hijacked the party leadership from Gordon Wilson – or in the 77-2 landslide in 2001.

In his losing 1996 campaign, Campbell railed against the MLA gold-plated pension plans. Glen Clark’s new NDP government listened to that call, and modified the controversial pensions.

However, after breaking many of his own election promises, Campbell reinstated a gold-plated pension plan in 2007, giving all members the chance to buy back in for those years when it was not functional.

For every dollar that an MLA pays in, taxpayers contribute $4; so former MLAs who have mismanaged our affairs for several years will be getting the last laugh – en route to the bank.

It would be remiss not to mention the platinum-plus pension plan in Ottawa, where the ratio is an obscene 1:24 in dollars from MPs and taxpayers.

The forerunner of today’s ruling Conservative Party – the Reform Party – railed against,  and even opted out of, the MP pension plan.

One of the stampeding MPs back then was a young bucking bronco from Calgary called Stephen Harper, believe it or not.

Bernie Smith

Parksville