Senate looks for details about fate of disgraced senator’s pension
The Liberal government is blaming its Conservative predecessor for the fact Don Meredith will be able to collect an annual pension now that the disgraced Ontario senator has formally resigned his seat in the upper chamber.
Meredith’s resignation became official Wednesday afternoon after it arrived at Rideau Hall, putting an end to his time in the Senate.
That decision provided Meredith a financial benefit, ensuring he would receive a regular annual pension payment rather than a one-time — and significantly lower — lump-sum payout.
A senator or MP who is expelled is only entitled to collect the contributions they made to the pension plan.
Treasury Board President Scott Brison, whose department oversees parliamentary pensions, said there is nothing in the law that would allow his department to deny benefits from a senator or member of Parliament who resigns.
Amending the pension rules would require legislative change that wouldn’t apply to Meredith, Brison noted Wednesday after the government’s weekly caucus meeting.
“Even if an act of Parliament were changed, it would not apply retroactively,” he said.
“So let’s be very clear on what can or cannot be changed and not try to spin this and deflect responsibility from (former prime minister) Stephen Harper and the Conservatives.”
Brison wouldn’t say whether the act should be changed, nor would he provide more details about the law itself when pressed by reporters.