A Commentary by Doug Draper
While Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservatives prepare to loot an Old Age Security program for millions of Canadians approaching retirement, they go right on pigging out from the public trough.
The gold-plated trough they have their snouts buried in guarantees a federal member of parliament who has served in office for as few as six years an annual pension of $40,000, that can begin collecting as early as age 55. And guess who’s paying for these generous offerings to our MPs?
You’ve guessed it my fellow 99 per centers. They are being paid through taxes by the very Canadians Harper and company are now thinking about forcing to work until they are 67, unless they want to retire earlier without as much as a penny of Old Age Security.
According to a recent report by the citizens’ group, Canadian Taxpayers Federation, those of us who still have enough of an income in this country to pay taxes add $23.30 to a federal MPs pension fund for every dollar an MP puts in. And the longer we keep voting the same MP back in office, the richer his or her pension is to a point where after 15 years of serving their party as a puppet as a puppet on the back benches, the average MP can expect to pocket $75,000 a year. A former cabinet minister or party leader can look forward to looting as much as much as $150,000 from the public treasury each year.
Not a bad deal eh? Wouldn’t you like to have one like that? These pigs just keep on giving the Occupy Movement more ammunition, don’t they.
But that is not the end of it. I would be remiss not to mention the “regal body” in Ottawa that is unelected and therefore totally unaccountable to Canadian voters, and is about as useful to the body politic as teats on a bull. I’m talking about that boneyard of partisan hacks called the Senate – a body Harper once said he wouldn’t support any more appointments to and would subject to elections by the Canadian people.
Well, over the past half a dozen years, Harper has appointed more than two dozen Conservative hacks to the Senate, enough to outnumber the hacks former prime ministers Liberal prime ministers Pierre Trudeau, Jean Chretien and Paul Martin installed there. Instead of letting attrition take its merry course as the eldest of these useless codgers retired, Harper kept the number of them sitting or sleeping in the “red chambers” up over 100 – each of them collecting an annual salary of $132,000 and eligible for yearly pensions totaling more than $70,000.
So as much as the Conservatives claim they want to put an end to wasteful spending and as much as they (going back to their days as the Reform Party) said they would reform business as usual in Ottawa, the pig fest that ballooned under former Liberal and Conservative governments goes on and on.
This continued binging from the public trough by a government now girding to cut benefits and services for seniors and others on lower or fixed incomes should finally be enough to get Canadians off their normally passive backsides and show his majesty King Harper that we are not going to be his peasants.
It is high time Canadians rallied together and told Ottawa that we, the people, are not going to take getting ripped off anymore. With federal parliament resuming this Monday, January 30 and a service-slashing budget expected this March, we have no time to waste in letting Harper and company know that if they don’t do something to spare assistance to seniors and others on lower incomes, and if they don’t put an end (even as the former Ontario Conservative government of Mike Harris did a decade and a half ago for MPPs) to the gold-plated pensions, they will forever lose any trust we may have had in them.
Harper may think he can now run the country like a dictator because he has a majority. But if enough of us tell Harper and company that if they continue ripping us off they won’t have enough seats left after the next election to fill a broom closet, enough of them may break ranks with Harper to keep him from gutting the services seniors and others need to live a decent life in this country.
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