UPDATE: The Prime Minister's Office contacted HuffPost Canada after this story was published to indicate that Stephen Harper has not bought back into the parliamentary pension program for the time he spent as a Reform Party MP between 1993-1997 and will not do so in the future.
To make a political statement, Harper opted out of the program during that time period. When he returned to Parliament Hill in 2002, the law had been changed to make contribution mandatory.
Harper could have paid his dues for the 1993 to 1997 period retroactively after returning to the House but, according the PMO, did not do so. MPs are not obligated by law to report this information.
The numbers for Harper in the slideshow below have been changed accordingly.
What would you do if you had a $3-million pension?
That's what these lucky members of Parliament will likely be asking when they retire.
Oddly, some MPs would actually receive more lifetime pension income if they retire earlier. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Diane Ablonczy would receive an estimated lifetime pension income of $1,542,543 if she retires in 2019. If she retires earlier, at the end of her current term in 2015, that jumps by roughly $600,000 to $2,143,306.
Of course, Ablonczy would no longer be earning a salary, but if she moves on to a new position, an election loss would almost certainly put her financially ahead.
The CTF's federal director Gregory Thomas told HuffPost that the incentive to retire early is a "phenomenon that's affecting society on all sorts of levels. They leave in their early 50's when their pension entitlements max out and then they move down the road to another job."
Thomas urges the public to "encourage their parliamentarians to reform the pension plan and embrace this new pension arrangement that was introduced in the fall," referring to Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPP).
And reform may become a necessity before long. According to a C.D. Howe Institute report released Thursday, the pension plan for MPs and senators is underfunded by as much as $1 billion.
The Institute suggests Parliament should move to increase MP salaries and reduce pension benefits.
Even if that happens, it seems unlikely that these MPs will have much to worry about come retirement.
Welcome to the $3-million club. The following 10 MPs will each receive an estimated total lifetime pension of more than $3 million if they retire in 2019.
All the estimates come from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and are based on an MP retiring in 2019 and ceasing to receive their pension at age 80.
10. Michael Chong - $3,124,903 (2015 = $2,684,816)
9. Peter Van Loan - $3,194,114 (2015 = $2,462,029)
8. Rona Ambrose - $3,330,876 (2015 = $2,429,149)
7. Rob Anders - $3,643,873 (2015 = $3,034,089)
6. Denis Coderre - $3,701,989 (2015 = $3,288,821)
5. Scott Brison - $3,723,666 (2015 = $3,113,881)
4. James Moore - $3,795,386 (2015 = $2,893,658)
3. Gerry Byrne - $3,996,498 (2015 = $3,450,711)
2. Jason Kenney - $4,318,507 (2015 = $3,416,779)
1. Stephen Harper - $5,596,474 (2015 = $5,456,109)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper would receive an estimated lifetime pension of $5,456,109 if he were to retire in 2015.
Harper's numbers are based on the PM not buying back into the program for his service as a Reform Party MP between 1993-1997. In order to make a political statement, Harper did not contribute to the pension program during his time as a Reform MP.
After returning to Parliament Hill in 2002, Harper could have retroactively contributed to the program for his service from 1993 to 1997. According to the PMO, Harper has not and will not make those contributions. MPs are not obligated to disclose this information.
If Harper were to choose to buy back in for those years, his numbers would change. If he were to buy back in and retire in 2019 he would receive an estimated lifetime pension of $6,216,858 and $6,233,568 if he were to retire in 2015.
His numbers also include the special allowance he will receive as Prime Minister.
An earlier version of this story used the numbers based on Harper buying back in for the 1993 to 1997 period. After being contacted by the PMO with the prime minister's pledge not to do so, the numbers were updated. (CP)