Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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Williamsonís private memberís bill passes second reading - Mar. 03, 2014

Barb Rayner
Saint Andrews
A private memberís bill introduced by New Brunswick Southwest MP John Williamson, which would take away parliamentary pensions from any MP or senator convicted of a serious crime, passed second reading last week.
Bill C-518, Protecting Taxpayers and Revoking Pensions of Convicted Politicians Act, was first introduced last June and Williamson said it passed second reading Thursday on a voice vote so will now go to a parliamentary committee for study.
ďThis is good news. I expect it back for the final vote in the spring.
The parliamentary committee has 60 days to review and return it and, after that, if successful, it goes to the Senate.Ē
Williamson tabled the bill in direct response to the Senate expenses scandal. It would close a loophole that currently permits an MP or senator to receive a taxpayer-funded retirement pension after being convicted of stealing from taxpayers. He is hoping it will be law before the next election in 2015.
The current rules are already set up to take away an MP or senatorís pension if they are booted from office for being convicted of certain crimes but if they resign before a judge hands down a conviction, their pension remains intact and that disgraced politician qualifies to receive a pension largely paid for by the very citizens that were betrayed.
Williamson wants to change the law to ensure former and suspended senators under investigation do not collect a parliamentary pension.
Bill C-518 will add a clause to the current law to take into account the situation where a senator or MP is convicted of an offence that occurred while that individual was in office.
The current law states that a senator or MP will receive their pension contributions plus interest as a lump sum when they cease to be a senator or MP by reason of disqualification or are expelled.

barb@stcroixcourier.ca