‘I’d just like to see a system that’s more fair to all’
STEWIACKE – Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie reiterated his pledge to scrap the "gold-plated" MLA pension plan here Monday.
© Raissa Tetanish - Truro Daily News
Jim Meadows, a resident of Stewiacke, walks with Progressive Conservative party leader Jamie Baillie following an announcement at Meadows' home. Baillie is making a commitment to scrap the "gold-plated" MLA pension plan if elected premier.
STEWIACKE – It may not effect Jim Meadows’ bottom line, but he hopes to see Progressive Conservative party leader Jamie Baillie’s plan to scrap MLA pensions come to fruition.
“Not specifically, I won’t see much savings, but it’s the perception more than anything,” said Meadows, 65, a retired gas station manager without a pension from the employer.
“I’d just like to see a system that’s more fair to all.”
The 65-year-old and his wife, Judy, are both retired and have been living off Canada Pension Plan and old age pension.
“I’ve been retired for about six months now, and my wife just retired. We’re going to manage,” he said, while looking out over his property in Stewiacke after hosting Baillie for an announcement on the plan.
During the announcement, Baillie said Nova Scotians are paying $6 to MLA pension plans for every dollar the MLAs, themselves, pay.
“There’s nothing special about being an MLA that means you should have a pension that is better than other people,” said Baillie. “That’s not right.”
Part of Baillie’s plan, if elected premier on Oct. 8, would be to create a citizen panel that would set the pay and benefits for their elected representatives. The current plan, Baillie said, would be scrapped in the first session of the legislature if he became premier.
“But that would be on one condition,” Baillie said. “Any future plan would consist of no more than one dollar from an MLA and one dollar from the government. Pension plans are generally a dollar for a dollar.
“For me, that is the cap and any future plans would be subjected to that. It’s the only way to be fair to people like Jim, who struggle to pay for a pension plan.”
When asked about comparing this plan to other pension plans, Baillie said he didn’t want to look to other politicians’ plans.
“I want to compare it to other Nova Scotians’,” he said.
If the plan is scrapped, Baillie said the proposed panel would consist of three to five “every day citizens,” whether they would be appointed, could apply or interviewed for would be detailed when the time comes.
He said when he was trying to find “recruits” to run in the ridings throughout the province for the election, he was very clear to them.
“I told them there wouldn’t be rich pension plans for them,” if elected premier, he said. “I will rip up my own pension plan to prove that to them.”