03/02/2012 02:05 EST | Updated 05/02/2012 05:12 EDT

Cleary Says His MP Pension Should Be Higher


NDP MP Ryan Cleary says he works hard for his money, and his pension.

In fact, the St. John’s South-Mount Pearl MP said Friday he deserves more.

The Globe and Mail is reporting that MPs’ pensions are in for a trimming.

The newspaper said Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently told Conservative MPs their pensions will be cut in the next budget.

When asked about his pension, Cleary defended his pay.

“I work my butt off,” Cleary said. “Would I deserve a pension of $28,000 after six years? Probably not. It should be more than that.”

According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the current base pension for an MP after six years of service is $28,260.

Cleary said that for him, politics is a 24-seven job, 365 days a year.

“The MP pension plan has been criticized as being out of whack, as being gold plated, as being too rich. Is it? I don’t know. I have different thoughts on that ... Being an MP, from my perspective, this is not a job. This is a life. This is all-consuming.”

Cleary said an independent review should determine the fate of MP pensions.

“If our pension plan is found to be gold-plated, well then change it so that it’s not,” he noted.

An MP qualifies for a pension after six years, and can start collecting it at 55.

Cleary won his seat in the May 2011 federal election. MPs must be elected twice to qualify for a pension, meaning Cleary would not be eligible until 2017.

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