Skip to main content

Politics MPs to debate pulling pensions from colleagues convicted of indictable crimes

Parliament Hill in Ottawa is viewed from the shores of Gatineau, Que.

Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Commons is set to debate a bill this week that would revoke the pensions of MPs and senators convicted of indictable crimes.

Conservative MP John Williamson's private member's bill appears to have some momentum, at a time when three of his former Tory colleagues from the Senate are facing RCMP allegations.

Bill C-518 has already gotten the thumbs up from Treasury Board President Tony Clement, and also appears to have the backing of the NDP.

Story continues below advertisement

Under the proposed legislation, any MP or senator convicted of an indictable offence that carries a minimum sentence of two years in prison would only keep what they put into the pension plan, losing the generous government contribution.

But while the offence must carry at least a two year sentence, the convicted parliamentarian doesn't need to have served that long to be penalized.

The penalty would also apply retroactively to conduct that occurred prior to June 2013. The misdeeds need to have taken place at least in part while the person was serving in Parliament.

The proposal comes at a time when three senators and one former colleague are facing RCMP allegations related to their expense claims.

Suspended Senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau and recently retired Sen. Mac Harb have been the subject of police allegations of fraud and breach of trust, with Duffy also accused of bribery.

No charges have been laid in connection with any of the investigations and the allegations have not been tested in court.

But Williamson, former national director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, says the inspiration for the bill came to him when former Liberal Senator Raymond Lavigne retired shortly after he was convicted of fraud and breach of trust in March 2011.

Story continues below advertisement

"I remember the reaction of many Canadians who said, here's a senator who's been found guilty of breach of trust and is keeping his pension," said Williamson.

He noted that a similar law in Nova Scotia has already resulted in a convicted former provincial legislator losing his pension.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair sent an email in response to a member of the public this fall saying the "NDP will support this legislation."

"New Democrats welcome these changes," Mulcair wrote in a copy of an email obtained by The Canadian Press.

"However, we feel that this is a half-hearted attempt by the Conservative government to restore its reputation badly damaged by the growing number of scandals on its watch."

The bill is scheduled for debate on the floor of the Commons on Tuesday.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter