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)

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

Vaccinations are set to resume in the small community of Tatchet, according to Lake Babine Nation’s Deputy Chief. (Black Press Media file photo)
Lake Babine Nation vaccine rollout resumes after a short pause

A COVID positive test within the care team had put the vaccinations on hold

Cheslatta Chief Corrina Leween received one of the COVID-19 vaccines on the Southside, on Wednesday, Jan. 13. (Submitted/Lakes District News)
COVID-19 vaccination begins in Burns Lake

Senior population, health care workers and First Nations among the first to get the vaccine

Sasquatch sighting. (Omineca Ski Club photo/Lakes District News)
Sasquatch on the loose at Omineca Ski Club

Head out to the trails to see if you can spot it; a tongue-in-cheek response from the club President

Two books in particular became quite popular at the start of the pandemic — Soap and Water Common Sense, The definitive guide to viruses’ bacteria, parasites, and disease and The Great Influenza, The story of the deadliest pandemic in history. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Burns Lake Public Library lent 20,916 books in 2020

Gained 67 new patrons throughout the year

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Most Read