Editor: I’m sure one of these days my doctor is going to make me stop reading The Guardian. I can’t even get past page 2 without my blood pressure going way up. The headline in today’s paper (“MLA pensions getting overhaul”) started off well, talking about Premier Ghiz asking the Indemnities and Allowances Commission to make the same adjustments to the MLA pension plan as the government did to the provincial civil servants’ pension plan.
Fair enough. Wes Sheridan said, “It seems to very similarly reflect recent changes to the public sector pension plans”. But in the same article I learned that “the MLA pension plan is just one of two pensions awarded to members of the legislative assembly. The second, supplementary plan offers approximately equal benefits to the MLA plan, but is unfunded. That means government covers all premiums and MLAs do not have to pay into it.”
First of all, civil servants do not have a supplementary plan. And second, the ‘government’ does not “cover all the premiums”, we taxpayers do. If I read it correctly (and remember, I’m just a poor dumb taxpayer who may not understand these complex financial issues), the second plan “offers approximately equal benefits” which to me says it’s the same amount of money. Does that mean if the first pension amount were $50,000 a year, the retired MLA would receive $100,000? No wonder people call it ‘gold-plated’.
Premier Ghiz or Wes Sheridan, please feel free to answer that question for me. And don’t forget to dumb down the answer.