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MPs could share their wealth with senior citizens

Joyce Walter reflects on a different career choice and its benefits
Reflective Moments by Joyce Walter

When I picked my career after high school, I didn’t know until much later that I had selected one of the lowest paying industries of any available.

I was so excited to be hired at the newspaper and to receive $1.05 an hour before deductions that I didn’t see the need to check out other job opportunities. I can honestly say money wasn’t terribly high on my radar at the tender age of 18. My rent was paid on time, bills were paid, I bought groceries and often joined colleagues for a restaurant meal and movie.

Imagine my excitement back then when I received a 25 cent an hour raise after working for three months. That 25 cents represented a major moment in my journalistic life.

As the years went by, the next anticipated magical event was being eligible for the Old Age Security pension at the ripe old age of 65. I was disappointed at having to wait until the end of March to receive the first payment, despite my birthday being Feb. 1. But wooeee.  Being paid for getting older and not having to work if the desire didn’t strike was something to make the heart flutter. 

Instead of those heart flutters, I am now subjected to rapid heart movements of frustration, perhaps despair, when I consider the minuscule raises seniors receive compared to, say, politicians.

Research shows the OAS raise for the months of January to March this year amounts to 0.8 per cent, based on the consumer price index. That brings the monthly stipend for younger seniors to $713.14 a month. Seniors 75 years and older will take home $784.67 for the same time period.

Meanwhile, if Members of Parliament decide to accept the expected 4.2 per cent annual raise, a regular backbench MP will make $202,700, up from $194,600. Government ministers will receive $299,300, up from $287,400; and the prime minister will hop up to $405,400 from $389,200. The percentage is based on the average annual increase in union contracts with corporations of more than 500 employees.

This information comes from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and I thank it for helping ruin an otherwise sunny and happy day. The bright light in the report notes that federal parties can vote to decline the raise. That would be a wonderfully-unexpected action, but will it happen? Let’s wait and see.

Some other tidbits to further infuriate regular folks: since 2020 an MP’s remuneration has gone up $23,800; the average annual salary of a regular full-time worker is only about $67,000; since 2016 the OAS has increased $142.62 a year; Members of Parliament work, before our eyes, for a mere 125 days a year but hastily say they continue to work for us when Parliament is in recess. Thanks for that.

So to summarize: if I had decided to become a Member of Parliament instead of a journalist back in those career-choice days, there would be no need to worry about how much the Old Age Security pension pays a month. On an MP’s salary I would not be eligible to collect any amount of OAS.

And if my constituents liked me enough to keep me in office for six years, I would be set for life on my MP’s pension.

If I knew back then what I know now, I would certainly hold out for a better starting wage, and maybe ask for a 50 cent raise after two months. For that princely sum I darn sure would work more than 125 days a year.

But before I forget, thanks to the federal government for that extra $5.66 a month that I hope has already been deposited into my bank account. There’s a sale on blueberries at the grocery store that I don’t want to miss.

Joyce Walter can be reached at

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication. 


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