11:06 A.M. John Baird $mile$ about ‘ retirement ‘ at 55 …

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If it’s crass to talk about money while parliamentarians and pundits are praising John Baird’s political prowess and pondering his legacy … Pardon my etiquette …

But one piece of the story is still missing … By stepping down this year , the former foreign affairs minister locked in his entitlement to an annual parliamentary pension of $64,381 starting at the age of 55 … Had he waited until 2016 , when new rules take effect , his golden handshake would not have been available until his 60th birthday …

To most Canadians , financial freedom at 60 still sounds pretty attractive … But for Baird … It would have meant forfeiting more than $320,000 !!! … 

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It is no coincidence that two dozen Conservatives , five New Democrats , two Liberals and three independents have decided not to seek re-election this year … Nor is it a surprise that the financially advantageous timing of Baird’s departure received little attention in Ottawa … Parliament Hill is a clubby place … MPs may hurl invective across the floor of the Commons , but they all share the same generous retirement package …

*MORBNOTE I ; That THEY all get to decide on !!! …

Political commentators may analyze a departing cabinet minister’s motives , achievements , weaknesses and career plans … But they don’t consider parliamentary pensions newsworthy … They’re just part of the landscape …

Outside the capital , things aren’t so cosy … Each lucrative farewell is a reminder of the disparity between MPs and the constituents they represent … While the government exhorts debt-burdened Canadians to save for their retirement , parliamentarians are taken care of by taxpayers … While most citizens have to wait until they are 67 for old age security … Aging boomers qualify at 65 … Parliamentarians can comfortably retire at 55 …

The discrepancy in benefits is stark … Baird’s pension works out to $5,365 a month … Us poor schmuck regular hard working Canadians get an old age security stipend of $563.74 and a Canada Pension Plan payment of $610 a month if they worked steadily … Combing the two , they’re still 80 per cent behind the minister …

It would be unfair to suggest pecuniary considerations were the only … Or even primary …  factor in Baird’s decision … He is 45 years old … He has spent his entire adult life in politics … Now is the perfect time … With his taxpayer provided and paid for high profile , global contacts and bona fides in Ottawa  … To embark on a second career with the privacy he has never had as a politician …

But his lucrative exit package underscores the gap between the privileged and the hoi polloi … It reinforces the impression that MPs are more interested in being on the favoured side of the divide than narrowing it …

Critics generally hold their fire … Only the Canadian Taxpayers Federation … Self-appointed enemy of government waste … Monitors parliamentary pensions … It regularly inveighs against politicians’ platinum-plated pension plans …

The left is inexplicably silent … This is a social justice issue … Although few advocates recognize it … It explains why every attempt to launch a parliamentary debate on income inequality has petered out ;

Every call to align the interests of MPs with those of the people has gone nowhere … It demonstrates how proximity to the public purse alters people’s values …

*MORBNOTE II ; THAT’S hittin’ the nail right on the head !!! …

As head of the National Citizens Coalition from 1997 to 2002 , Stephen Harper was a vocal critic of parliamentarians’ gilt-edged pensions …

*MORBNOTE III ; This is where Steve finds out that even the top elected post of Prime Minister has no power against the UN-elected establishment of professional troughers !!! 

In the prime minister’s defence , he did trim parliamentary pensions in 2012 when he raised the age of eligibility for everybody else to 67 … Starting next January , MPs will have to wait until they are 60 to claim their pensions … By 2017 , they will have to contribute 50 per cent of the cost of their pensions … They currently contribute 15 per cent !!! …

By requiring MPs to sacrifice , Harper insulated his government from a damaging public backlash over pensions … But he created a strong incentive for long-serving MPs to leave … That is the backdrop of Baird’s decision …

None of this is meant to cast aspersions on the minister’s character or work ethic … He served the government well and played by the rules …

It is the rules that are wrong … They shield MPs from the economic realities Canadians face … They push the destabilizing gap between the rich and the rest to the margins of the national agenda …

ComeOnSignOff Baird is already receiving a copious amount of ‘ compensation ‘ from being on two director boards … And he has just recently been hired by billionaire Richard Li as an ‘ adviser ‘ … Wonder how much he pockets there !!! …

Richard Li is the son of Li Ka-shing … GREAT name for a guy that’s worth over 33 billion !!! …

John should have to wait ’til he hits 65 for our money !!! … He’s still employed and therefore doesn’t qualify … Save ten years !!! …

via How John Baird will cash in by quitting Parliament early: Goar | Toronto Star.

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