‘Fat’ $2.7 million pension for retiring MP Hiebert

Former Conservative MP Russ Hiebert's career in federal politics is over, but he's looking at a comfortable retirement, the CTF says.

Conservative MP Russ Hiebert’s career in federal politics may be at an end, but he’s looking at a comfortable retirement, thanks to his severance package.

The four-time South Surrey – White Rock – Cloverdale MP – who announced over a year ago he wasn’t running again – represented the now-redrawn riding starting in 2004.

He served past the minimum six years to qualify for what the Canadian Taxpayers Federation calls a lucrative “fat-cat” MP pension.

According thttp://raven.b-it.ca/portals/uploads/whiterock/.DIR288/Hiebert-Russ0411.jpgo the CTF, he’ll receive $83,700 in immediate severance. His annual pension – which starts in 2024 – will be $55,643. That works out to a lifetime pension (to age 90) of $2,791,083.

Hiebert, 46, can opt to start collecting his pension at age 55.

On Tuesday, the CTF released its severance and pension figures for the 2015 federal election.

Out of the 75 MPs who retired or chose to not run again since 2011, Hiebert has the 22nd highest lifetime pension total. CTF research director Jeff Bowes, who was contacted by the Reporter before the press release was issued, those 75 MPs include 13 MPs who didn’t serve long enough to earn a pension (less than six years).

Conservative MP Nina Grewal, who went down to defeat in Fleetwood-Port Kells Oct. 18, has a lifetime payout of $2.52 million for 11 years of service.

Defeated Surrey NDP MPs Jinny Sims and Jasbir Sandhu only served one term, not long enough to qualify for MP pension. They qualify for severance.

Pension reforms kick in on Jan. 1. According to the CTF, those reforms will see senators and MPs paying more towards their own pensions.

But the 180 MPs who didn’t run for re-election or who were defeated on election night will collect a projected $209 million in pensions and $12.8 million in severance payments.

Serving as MP ‘life-changing’

Hiebert had a reputation as a staunch Harper supporter, but never held a cabinet post.

His most notable controversy occurred in 2011, when it was revealed his personal expenses from 2008-2009 as MP were the second-highest in the country.

The riding’s boundaries have been redrawn for 2015, with the creation of the new Cloverdale-Langley City electoral district – where voters on Monday chose the riding’s first-ever MP, John Aldag, a Liberal, a result that upended predictions that the Conservative-leaning riding would again elect a Conservative MP.

In his final householder to constituents in South Surrey – White Rock – Cloverdale, Hiebert describes his 11 years in office as “life changing,” naming his private member’s bill becoming law as a highlight.

The bill requires labour organizations to publicly disclose finances and was not without controversy. It was challenged as unconstitutional. He also highlighted his stance on crime, his role in improving trade and transit with the U.S. and “being an active participant in the significant accomplishments and milestones of our government.”

Hiebert recently told Black Press he plans to return to the private sector to pursue some business opportunities and spend more time with his family.

The taxpayers federation argues the current pension system for federal politicians is too rich, contributing $4 for every dollar contributed by an MP, who is guaranteed a steady payout regardless of how markets or investments perform.

It favours a dollar-for-dollar matching formula now used in Saskatchewan and Ontario.

The CTF has also pointed out that most Canadians working in the private sector have no private pension plan, and those who do, normally have defined contribution, RRSP-style plans where they must save.

– With files Black Press