Cornwall ON – One interesting but over-looked side story in the present impasse over the Afghan documents is that magical date of June 28th. The importance of this date was flagged in a story by CanWest on September 13, 2009.
This is the date that some 74 MPs will qualify for their pension as they were first elected on June 28, 2004. This includes 36 Conservatives, 16 Bloc, 14 Liberals and 8 NDP. Not a bad pension either as it’s about $25,000 (at age 55) for those with the minimum six years service.
How does this impact on the document issue and the Speakers ruling? For one thing, Canadians can’t understand why it is taking so long to decide this issue. Most view this as just another example of Ottawa’s inability to get things done. Canadians have seen the clock tick away the original two weeks ordered by the Speaker. They also heard the Chief of the Defence Staff state that he doesn’t have a problem letting MPs review the uncensored documents.
However, according to all the parties, more time is still needed. Keep in mind that a failure to resolve this issue could result in an election.
The Speaker has provided an extension until Friday, May 14th. The week of the 17th is a break week for our MPs. Therefore highly unlikely that any further action by the Speaker or the House to hold the government or its ministers in contempt will happen until they return after Victoria Day on May 25th. Again unlikely a contempt motion could be done in one day, so allow a couple of extra days.
Where this gets very interesting is that if you calculate 36 days (the minimum for an election) backwards from June 28th you land on May 24th. The calculation for an MPs pension includes the period from the calling of an election, up to but not including voting day. Any election called between May 26 and June 28th gets these 74 MPs their pension.
In other words, if this impasse results in an election, those 74 MPs win or lose, will be guaranteed their pension.
Think of the Nortel pensioners, who has the better deal now?
One would have to be quite cynical to think that our MPs would take care of themselves in that manner, but it does make you wonder.
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