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Defence minister one of several MPs who received severance pay after election

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Re: Defence minister one of several MPs who received severance pay after election

Post by bigrex on Wed 30 Mar 2016, 10:15

Well, honestly there are some major differences here, that seems to be completely ignored. O'Toole, who I believe is the only sitting Torie with military service, is criticizing others about this, because he didn't qualify for severance pay, choosing to quit after only 12 years. Yet Sajjon served 26 years, Leslie served 35 years, and McCrimmon served 31 years.

I just find it suspicious that the only Torie MPs mentioned is O'Toole, and Rayes, who donated his severance, as if to imply that only Liberals have taken severance pay from previous employers. Yet I bet the two VAC ministers prior to O'Toole, Gordon O'Connor and Fantino, had collected severance from the CF and OPP before getting elected.
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Re: Defence minister one of several MPs who received severance pay after election

Post by Guest on Wed 30 Mar 2016, 08:34

Ok for them , let's just call it a career impact allowance! They had to leave one gold mine for another!

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Defence minister one of several MPs who received severance pay after election

Post by Guest on Wed 30 Mar 2016, 06:35

The jury is out on MPs accepting severance pay from public employers: some refused it, some donated the money, others just cashed the cheque.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan received severance pay from the military after winning his seat in the Oct. 19 election, disclosures to Canada’s ethics commissioner show.

An entry dated March 1 states Mr. Sajjan received severance pay from the Canadian Armed Forces. Reports from last fall say he quit the reserve force Oct. 21, two days after the federal election. When he was named minister Nov. 4, his departure still hadn’t been formalized.

“Even though the minister released from the Canadian Forces voluntarily, he—like all other members of the CAF—received this taxable, deferred part of his compensation upon release,” press secretary Jordan Owens said.

“He has provided all necessary information to the Ethics Commissioner, and his personal finances are a private matter,” she said. Ms. Owens would not disclose the amount that Mr. Sajjan received.

Based on publicly-available information about how severance is calculated, it appears Mr. Sajjan was eligible to receive an amount in the tens of thousands—likely between $30,000 and $40,000 or more, according to his rank and years of service. His office did not respond after to repeated requests to confirm the accuracy of this estimate.

Military members get severance 'almost regardless' of how they leave

Complicated rules dictate how officials calculate severance, making it nearly impossible to determine an average amount that members are paid.

For eligible reservists, as a basic premise, severance is calculated at seven days of pay per year of service—but there are a bunch of complicating factors, such as the member's rank, total years of service and how much time the member actually spent performing duties.

Several current MPs confirmed to Embassy that they benefitted from military severance pay in the past.

For example, Karen McCrimmon, the parliamentary secretary for the minister of veterans affairs, received severance after she left the forces in 2006.

But she quit for family reasons, her office said, and didn’t get her job in the House of Commons until last October. They declined to provide an amount.

Another new MP, former Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie, also accepted severance pay after he retired from the forces in 2011.

His parliamentary assistant, Shawn Kalbhenn, told Embassy: “all military members, almost regardless of how they leave the forces, receive severance pay when they leave.”

Mr. Leslie had come under criticism in 2014 when it came out that he had billed DND $72,000 in “relocation expenses” for a move within Ottawa, shortly after retiring. That’s another type of benefit the military doles out for about 300 of its own every year, the Ottawa Citizen reported.

Another ex-military MP and former Conservative veterans affairs minister, Erin O’Toole, told Embassy that he was in the military for 12 years before working for a decade as a lawyer then seeking elected office.

Because he left the forces after the end of a contract, Mr. O’Toole got his own contributions to a pension fund back, but didn’t receive severance pay, he said.

'It is not supposed to be a free gift'

“We always find it curious when there are jobs where there is severance offered for voluntarily leaving,” Aaron Wudrick, the president of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, told Embassy.

“These are public dollars. Severance is supposed to be for situations where an individual faces a sudden loss of employment—you know, against their own will. It is not supposed to be a free gift to people who choose to leave their jobs.”

Some changes have been made to the system in the past few years. The Reserve Force Retirement Gratuity has been phased out in favour of the less-generous Canadian Forces Severance Pay program.

And in 2012, accumulation of severance pay for resignation and retirement reasons stopped. But many members are still eligible to redeem what they had accrued before then.

“Severance benefits for the purpose of resignation and retirement are infrequent amongst other employers,” the defence department acknowledges on a Frequently Asked Questions web page.

“The ending of the severance entitlement for retirement and resignation will provide financial predictability for the government in these times of fiscal restraint,” it says.

In the face of a federal deficit this year, people like Mr. Wudrick believe elected officials should tighten the public purse strings and refuse severance packages, even if they are legally entitled to them.

“Especially given the circumstance we’re in, where we’re sort of tight for money, it would certainly be showing leadership to say ‘OK, I’m going to forgo this,’” he said. “I think that shows some leadership and that shows respect for tax dollars.”

He added, “if the minister did actually take this money, he should follow the example of some of his colleagues.”

Other ministers, MPs took severance pay after election

Indeed, other MPs declined severance from public sector positions as they headed to the Hill last fall.

Liberal MPs Anthony Housefather and Ramez Ayoub and NDP MP Jenny Kwan declined substantial packages, with Mr. Housefather telling Global News that “I’d rather leave it with the taxpayers.”

Several other MPs—Liberals Jean-Claude Poissant and Pierre Breton and Conservative Alain Rayes—decided to donate severance packages to charities or non-profit organizations.

Still, Mr. Sajjan isn’t alone. Others, including cabinet ministers, accepted severance pay from their previous jobs.

Jody Wilson-Raybould, the justice minister, disclosed with the ethics commissioner Feb. 23 that she had received severance pay from the Assembly of First Nations. Embassy contacted her office to ask for more information, but staff had not responded before press time.

The only other severance disclosure on the ethics commissioner’s website is from Jennifer O’Connell, a Liberal MP who received severance pay from Pickering, Ont.’s municipal government after quitting her job as a city councillor.

But Global News reported Feb. 18 that she and six other MPs had received a combined total of nearly $780,000.

That included $132,518 for Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr after he left the Alberta legislature and $46,150 for Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi after he left the Edmonton city council.

On their ethics disclosures, those ministers list income from the Alberta and Edmonton governments, respectively, but don’t specifically mention severance pay.

http://www.embassynews.ca/news/2016/03/30/defence-minister-received-military-severance-pay-after-election/48425

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