… Although given how readily they swallowed it, it might be a bit of a stretch to call it bait in the first place.
Apparently one of the items in the next Conservative omnibus bill will be reforms to MP pensions. The “reforms” are, in a word, horseshit. They’ll make MPs wait a few extra years before collecting, and they’ll apparently up the contribution rates. And — best yet — they won’t apply except to new MPsafter the next election. In short, the current crop are all safe. That’s Conservative “reform” for you.
And then I turn to the Globe & Mail for its coverage:
This would present their political rivals with a dilemma: If the NDP and Liberals oppose the budget – because of other measures in it – they will leave themselves open to charges they didn’t support MP pension reforms.
Oh, come on, Steven Chase. You’re getting paid for this, aren’t you? You’ve got to do better than that.
I won’t bother explaining to the national correspondent of a major newspaper why voting against an omnibus budget is a piss-poor way to judge whether you support any one of its many measures. I will, however, wonder precisely why said correspondent thinks it is his job to anticipate and even make some advance suggestions for the bullshit spin that some 30-year-old Conservative propagandist in the party campaign office might one day try to put on the budget.
The only dilemma in all this is one faced by Conservative MPs: whether they will vote with their conscience, or with their wallets. Stephen Harper once declared that it was sacrilege for any MP to accept a public pension, let alone a watered-down one. He is a lying hypocrite on this subject, and so are many of his followers in Parliament. Watered-down doesn’t cut it.
The weirdest part is, this is a gimme. Many of the people in Parliament don’t really need pensions, especially the Cabinet ministers who are ostensibly running the show. If they got rid of them altogether, then a long line of pundits, probably including the aforementioned Mr. High, will declare that this gives them the political capital to hack away at other public pensions at will. That will be a bullshit argument, too, by the way. But attacking the pensions of other Canadians while “gradually chipping away” at their own, to use another phrase being bandied about in the media, makes them extraordinary hypocrites.
Speaking of Mr. Chase, I was a little alarmed to read this at the end of his article:
On paper it looks as if recently elected MPs supply $1 in annual pension-plan contributions for every $5 to $6 anted up by the government… Sources say, in fact, MP contributions only amount to 14 per cent of the pension benefit that’s accruing each year.
Oh, my. Most PCs already come with a stock calculator, but in case you can’t find yours, here’s a free online one. Or you can just type an equation into Google, which has a very handy calculator-and-conversion function that I highly recommend. Like so: