Nathan Cullen, outgoing MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley is entitled to $89,000 in severance and $82,000 in pension, or $4.1 million over his lifetime. (Black Press Media file photo)

Cullen gets $89,000 in post-MP severance

At 55, the former MP will also be eligible for an $82,000 per annum pension

Nathan Cullen, the outgoing New Democrat MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley is leaving his job in Ottawa but will have a soft financial landing as he returns to private life.

Cullen’s severance comes to $89,000 and his annual MP pension is $82,000, or $4.1 million over his lifetime, according to a Nov. 1 news release from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF).

Under federal rules, Cullen can begin collecting the pension in eight years when he turns 55.

That release lists the severance and pension payments of the 94 MPs who didn’t run for re-election or who were defeated in the Oct. 21 poll.

There were 11 MPs from British Columbia on the list, including Cullen who is from Smithers.

Most outgoing MPs are eligible for either severance or a pension, but only those who served for several years are entitled to both, as Aaron Wudrick, Federal Director with the CTF told Lakes District News.

“Single-term MPs do not qualify for a pension (the minimum is six years of service to qualify) and so get a lump-sum payment of half their salary as severance,” Wudrick said.

One example of that is John Aidag, Liberal candidate for Cloverdale-Langley City who was elected in 2015 but lost to Conservative Tamara Jansen. He will receive $95,000 in severance but no pension.

Others, such as Joe Peschisolido, former one-term Liberal MP for Steveston-Richmond East who lost to Conservative Kenny Chiu won’t receive severance but will get $38,000 a year in pension, or $1.6 million over a lifetime.

At 56, Peschisolido is old enough to receive a pension so he doesn’t get severance.

Under federal rules, pensionable services done before Jan. 1, 2016 by an MP with six years of service can receive their pension as early as 55.

For MPs with six years of service accrued on or after Jan. 1, 2016, unreduced pensions can be received at age 65.

Taxpayers contribute less to MP pension plans than they did previously following reforms introduced by the Conservative government of Stephen Harper in 2012. Where before MPs put in just over $11,000 per year toward the pensions, by 2017 their contributions rose to $39,000.

READ MORE: MP pension reform praised, bill short-listed

That equates to 19.52 per cent of an MP’s pay as of Jan. 1, 2019, according to the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act. For average Canadians, 10.2 per cent of pay is set aside for pensions, with the employer and employee each paying half.

“Obviously, these pensions are still far more generous than most Canadians will ever see,” Wudrick said. “The improvement is that MPs (and Senators) must now carry much more of the freight in funding them.”

MPs who failed to be re-elected or who didn’t seek re-election can take advantage of a federal, taxpayer-funded transition program that offers up to $15,000 to help defeated MPs transition back to civilian life, according to the Members’ Allowances and Services guide published by the House of Commons.

The money can be used for career transition services, training, travel and other expenses.

Those same MPs and their immediate families are also entitled to have their relocation costs back to their hometowns from Ottawa covered by the government. Coverage includes travel and moving expenses for furniture, household items and pets. Those MPs have one year after they cease being MPs to make the move.

Cullen was first elected MP in the 2004 federal election and was re-elected in 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2015. He announced on March 1 of this year he wouldn’t run again, paving the way for Smithers mayor Taylor Bachrach to contest the seat, which he secured in the Oct. 21 vote.

LOOK BACK: Nathan Cullen not seeking re-election

Bachrach resigned his mayoral post on Nov. 3 and a new mayor will be elected in a byelection in 2020 now that Bachrach is on his way to Ottawa.

READ MORE: Bachrach officially resigns as Smithers mayor

READ MORE: Town waiting until 2020 for mayoral byelection


Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
Send Blair an email
Like Lakes District News on Facebook

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Another snowstorm expected for Terrace and Kitimat area

Wind is expected up to 80 km per hour

Don’t do anything hasty!

Kitimat sees a huge jump in property assessment values

Kitimat man gets 18 months for sexual touching and possession of child porn

Bradley Scott Sears appeared before court in Terrace after pleading guilty

Northern B.C. cities break temperature records amid cold snap

Quesnel dipped to -41.9 C, breaking a record from 1916

Pipeline at centre of B.C. conflict is creating jobs for First Nations: chief

All 20 elected band councils along the Coastal GasLink pipeline route have signed benefits agreements

VIDEO: Cold snap brings ideal conditions for Okanagan icewine

Take an inside look at how icewine is made

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

Most Read