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

School buses for SD91 to start running from June 1

Parents urged to drop off and pick kids up whenever possible

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Salmon closures announced for Skeena and Nass watersheds

DFO notice expands on May 21 chinook ban throughout Skeena watershed

New traffic lanes for Six Mile west of Burns Lake coming soon

Construction to begin on lane extension and traffic improvement

Coastal GasLink pipeline work ramps up

With spring thaw ending, workers start to arrive for summer season

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Most Read