Politicians who lose an election deserve severance benefits

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Original article starts here: I find the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and others who are decrying the severance packages of those federal MPs who lost their seats, absolutely disgusting.  Where is the understanding that losing is part of the democratic process? Where is the compassion?

  • Many of the current losing MPs have given many years of their lives to public service. Call them career politicians if you like. But, how is it appropriate to simply shove them out the door with nothing when the voters change their minds?  They chose to serve their country and, to do so, have quit permanent jobs, hollowed out their careers or put their businesses in blind trusts. As a result, some actually lose more money than they could ever earn as a politicians.

I mean, what do Canadians want? Do they want people to run for Parliament who have nothing to lose (like some are alleging is the case with most of the latest NDP winners) or, are so rich, they don’t care if they lose? Is that what the complainers want?

Well, I don’t. I want those who really do want to make a difference to run for Parliament. And, I am willing to reward them once their service is finished, whether they are my party of choice or not. And, contrary to popular opinion, it may just turn out that most, if not all, those newby NDPers will ultimately serve with distinction.

But, let’s get real. Political severances are NOT golden parachutes. They are equivalent to several months pay to help former politicians get re-established in life. That is hardly an unreasonable commitment that Canadian taxpayers make to those who would represent and serve them.  

  • Moreover, they did NOT get fired. In fact, being an MP is not even a job. Nor is it like running your own business. Members of Parliament simply receive remuneration. In reality, those who lost their seats last Monday night were not kicked out.  They simply lost because that was the end result once the ballots were counted. And frankly, a few hundred votes either way could have changed many outcomes.  Such is the reality of democracy.  

Look, we may well disagree with politicians representing a party that does not reflect our values, but they are human beings and need help adjusting to regular society. Even in Ontario, where there are no MPP pensions (after Mike Harris’ PCs got rid of them as promised), they have RRSP plans and, yes, severance arrangements. 

But, the pettiness in what I am reading, in both the mainstream media and on some Conservative blogs, about the federal Liberals who lost, is truly deplorable. For instance, the fact that Michael Ignatieff was able to pick himself up and find a job in only a few days — albeit with only a one-year contract — is commendable, not something to be suspicious or snarky about.

  • Perhaps it is because I worked for an Ontario MPP, who both won an election and lost one, and I can confirm that winning is a lot better than losing. Why? Because former politicians have to make a living like everyone else.  And, it can take months to find work after losing — particularly if your political party is in decline.

In fact, some former politicians are never able to reframe their lives and simply decide to retire or, sadly, some have even committed suicide.

So, please, lets give the losers some slack. As Conservatives, surely we can afford to be magnanimous in victory.

4 thoughts on “Politicians who lose an election deserve severance benefits

  1. Sandy,

    I couldn’t agree with you more on this. Severance payments are made in the private sector for good reason when someone loses their job, and it should be no different when an MP loses a re-election bid.

    There are many people of all political stripes to who love to complain about the salary and benefits given to our elected officials, but count me as someone who thinks they are perhaps underpaid.

    As much as I would be honoured to serve my country or province in government, like many other successful people, I’ve become accustomed to a certain lifestyle afforded by my current career in the private sector, and I’m not prepared to take a big cut in pay to run for MP. Add to that, the limited job security and the constant attacks by an ungrateful media, I can’t figure out why anyone really wants to put themself out there for such an ordeal. I respect anyone who puts forth their best effort to serve Canada as an MP.

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