With election date move, Canada to be governed by a pension coalition

New law proposes to move election date, meaning 80 MPs will get vested in their pension.

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Get used to having Justin Trudeau remain as prime minister – a proposed change to Canada’s election law means he’s staying put.

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By moving the date of Canada’s next fixed election date from Oct. 20, 2025, to one-week later Trudeau is ensuring he will stay in power until that date.

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It all comes down to MPs’ pensions and who qualifies for them.

There are 32 Conservative MPs, 22 Liberals, 20 Bloc Quebecois and six New Democrats who were elected in the 2019 election and are still sitting. To qualify for their pension after six years of service, they need to be MPs until October 21, 2025, which is one day after the currently scheduled election.

The Trudeau government has denied that this change to the election act has anything to do with pensions. Government spokesperson Jean-Sébastien Comeau said the change to the election day is not about pensions and instead about “protecting the integrity of federal elections.”

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The government points out that Oct. 20, 2025, is the first day of the Hindu festival of light. It’s also the day that municipal elections are scheduled in Alberta, and they worry that could be a problem.

Let’s be honest though, it’s also a day too early for the MPs who will lose in the next election to be vested in their pensions.

Now, if you are one of the 32 Conservative MPs who is just shy of being vested in your pension, you probably aren’t worried based on the current polling. If an election were held today, the Conservatives would win a massive majority government and those 32 MPs would most likely be re-elected.

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If you are a Liberal MP, or a New Democrat, and to a much lesser degree a Bloc MP, then things are different for you.

If an election were held today, a lot of Liberal MPs would lose their seats – including many of the 22 first elected in 2019. The NDP is also in danger of losing seats in the next election, but the Bloc could hold their support or even gain seats based on current polling.

So, if you are a Liberal, NDP or Bloc MP, you don’t want to go to an election until October 2025 and the later the better.

This one week change all but guarantees Trudeau staying in power. None of the three parties will want to risk not only losing seats but also losing money for their MPs.

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The Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation estimates that a backbench MP with just six years of service would get an annual pension of roughly $30,000 a year starting at age 55. That’s not enough to make you rich but it’s more than many Canadians would get and it’s a nice cushion as you look for extra work.

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It also adds up over time – an MP taking their pension at 55 after six years of service would collect around $900,000 by the time they reached age 85.

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NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who signed the coalition deal with Justin Trudeau, gets vested in his pension by February 2025, six years after he won a by-election. His payout could be as much as $2.3 million over his lifetime.

According to numbers calculated by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Singh’s annual pension in 2034, when he turns 55, would be worth $45,000 per year, more than many retirees live on now. Because the MP pension is indexed, by the time Singh reaches the age of 60, his annual pension would be worth $54,000 per year.

In the grand scheme of things, moving the election date by one week won’t make a big difference in the life of an average Canadian. For some MPs, it will make a huge difference, though at our expense.

So, let’s just call the government we have in Ottawa what it really will be after this new law, Bill C-65, passes – the pension coalition.

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