Taxpayers Federation condemns Ottawa for billing Canadians $90,303 in 'transition support' for outgoing MPs

According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF), Canadians are on the hook for the educational aspirations of MPs — upwards of $15,000 per official.

Taxpayers Federation condemns Ottawa for billing Canadians $90,303 in 'transition support' for outgoing MPs
Twitter / franco_nomics and The Canadian Press / Codie McLachlan
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"Taxpayers are paying for ex-members of Parliament to attend schools most Canadians would have to be collegiate hockey stars to attend, including Harvard and Cornell universities," said the CTF in a blog.

MPs who lose or do not seek re-election can access the federal "transition support" slush fund within 12 months of leaving office. According to the CTF, it can cover education, professional development, office supplies, long-distance phone calls, or up to four roundtrips within Canada. 

"This is a little-known slush fund that most Canadians probably aren't aware of and could never get from their former employer. Most Canadians can't bill their former boss for an ivy league education, and neither should ex-MPs," Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director of the CTF, told Rebel News.

Rebel asked the taxpayers' group about the feds extending the fund’s 12-month deadline during the COVID pandemic. They responded: "The government shouldn't just reverse the extension; it should completely eliminate this perk."

Since 2019, at least 12 ex-MPs have tapped into the fund for education and professional development, expensing a total of $90,303 to taxpayers. Canadians have also received the bill for tuition costs at the Rotman School of Management, the McGill Executive Institute, the Institute of Corporate Directors and the Chopra Centre. 

"Why are taxpayers paying for the education and training costs of highly compensated federal politicians who already receive a slew of platinum perks?" posed Terrazzano. 

"MPs already receive large six-figure salaries and don't need to take more taxpayer money to land another job," he told Rebel.

The annual salary for a backbench Canadian MP is $194,600. The taxpayers' group said those who serve less than six years in office receive $97,300 as severance. 

"Why are taxpayers on the hook for a $15,000 slush fund when we are already handing ex-MPs a $90,000 severance cheque?" posed Terrazzano. "Most Canadians can't get fired and still bill their former boss for an ivy league education, and neither should MPs," he told Rebel

Following the 2019 federal election, the CTF calculated the severance and pension payments for outgoing MPs at $5.8 million and $104 million, respectively. In 2021, those figures fell to $3.3 million and $42 million. 

The severance available to them is "significantly better" than what typical workers get — two days' regular wages for each year of service. Those who serve more than six years also receive a pension. 

Former CPC MP Brad Trost served in office from 2004 to 2019, earning a severance and a pension. According to the CTF, he also spent $15,000 to fund courses at Harvard University. 

Ex-NDP MP Murray Rankin held office from 2012 to 2019, where he received a $34,000 annual pension. In July 2019, he billed taxpayers $15,000 to the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

Since October 2020, Rankin has served as the BC minister of Indigenous relations and reconciliation. 

Two former Liberal MPs, Dan Ruimy and Amarjeet Sohi, expensed taxpayers $15,483 in postsecondary education costs. They now serve as the mayors of Maple Ridge and Edmonton, respectively. 

According to Statistics Canada data, the average hourly wage last year in Canada was $31.96, equating to an average annual salary of $66,476. MPs earn 192% more than that, having since taken a fourth pay raise since 2020, on April 1.

"MPs should have never taken their fourth pay raise when their constituents were struggling to afford groceries and gasoline," said the CTF. 

"The feds need to rein in the platinum politician perks, including eliminating the transition support slush fund and reversing the pay raises."

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