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

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Chris Paulson of Burns Lake took a quick selfie with a lynx over the weekend of Feb. 20-22, 2021, after the wild cat was found eating some of his chickens. (Chris Paulson/Facebook)
VIDEO: Burns Lake man grabs lynx by scruff after chickens attacked

‘Let’s see the damage you did, buddy,’ Chris Paulson says to the wild cat

Northern Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Brucejack mine, 65 km north of Stewart on Feb. 11, 2021. (Pretivm Photo)
Northern Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Brucejack Mine, 65 kilometres north of Stewart on Feb. 11, 2021. (Pretivm Photo)
Northern Health reports 20 more COVID-19 cases in outbreak at Brucejack Mine

So far, 42 people have tested positive, nine cases are active and self-isolating onsite

Fisheries and Oceans Canada released it's 2021 Pacific Herring Integrated Fisheries Management Plan Feb. 19. (File photo)
Northern herring opportunities kept to a minimum

2021 management plan caps Prince Rupert fishery at 5 per cent

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

Most Read