New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Sept. 18, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/Chris Wattie
OTTAWA – Opposition parties want the government to treat MP pension reform as a separate issue, not as part of a sweeping bill.
"We will see what they do," said NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, adding an independent body should be tasked with reviewing changes to MPs pensions.
"If they do try and embed it in a 700-page bill that's doing a whole bunch of other things that they darn well know we will never be able to vote for, we will know it is about a political game."
Opposition parties have both said they support MP pension reform and agree the current system is too rich, but they are concerned the government will roll the changes into a "kitchen-sink" bill.
“We hope that we’ve put some pressure on the government to treat the issue of MP pensions as a separate matter so that it would be very clear to all Canadians how MPs vote,” said Liberal House leader Marc Garneau.
Taxpayers currently shell out $24 for every $1 an MP contributes to the pension plan, but the government has said it will move towards a 50/50 split.
Conservatives are in the midst of negotiating MP pension changes behind closed doors, but they have signalled changes will be made regarding pension contributions from elected officials.
The Tories are also eyeing changes to the age of eligibility for MP pensions. Currently, members must serve six years in the House of Commons before becoming eligible for a pension at 55, but reports suggest this age will be increased to 65.
Treasury Board President Tony Clement would not hint at upcoming changes when peppered by reporters on Tuesday.
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