The Conservatives are ready to move quickly to kill the Canadian Wheat Board, a philosophical irritant to the notion of free markets. The Conservatives are poised to move quickly against political subsidies, just the word "subsidy" an affront to all things the right wing holds sacred. Conservatives are already rumbling about "cutting the fat", "axing" this and that, because austerity and fiscal discipline is a core belief you know. Not hearing so much on MP pensions though, despite the fact, from whatever angle you look, the system appears obnoxious, excessive, elitist and contrary to many supposed ideological principles.
Nobody disputes that people should be given a pension. What is in question though is how the MP pension plan operates in this unique universe, unlike your pension plan and mine, not only is it excessive, but it's immune to market forces, guaranteed in a way that screams "sweetheart" in every sense of the word.
When Harper announced his unnecessarily bloated cabinet, despite simultaneously preaching restraint and belt tightening, he rationalized the size using a host of lame excuses. Not least of which, this argument that "his government" had cut the size of ministerial budgets, a fact which forgets this is largely a function of moving certain expenses like travel for Ministers and staff DIRECTLY into the department themselves, basically burying costs to create a false narrative. This shell game aside, it allows Harper to argue against the optics of a bigger cabinet, despite our large deficit situation.
However, if Harper really wants to send a signal that his government is serious about "walking the walk", in ANY regard, he and his ideological pure supporters should be demanding reforms to the MP pension issue, which everyone agrees is unfairly lavish system. Why not do away with the guaranteed pension system, and replace it by giving MP's a raise, let them invest their own money how they see fit, roll with the economic realities like the rest of us, rather than taxpayers buffering their pensions. It's apparently unfair to subsidize political parties, but Harper has no problem maintaining a system which has no real world exposure, the money is simply doled out by us, zero investments or "funds", just a direct subsidy to former MP's? Why not give MP's a little more in salary while they are in office and let them invest it in the same way all other Canadians do? Why not set an MP pension plan, a fund, just like other professions? Where are you ideological conservatives, where is the pressure, where is the consistency?
Does anyone think it fair that Gilles Duceppe is guaranteed a 3 million pension, with no worry about future economic prospects? Does anyone think a still vital 50 year old Keith Martin requires a 4 million dollar pension? People don't begrudge a pension plan for our representatives, many actually give up bigger salaries to become MP's. Where the disconnect exists, the sheer EXCESS, as well as the entirely different system, shielded from the very free market that is so essential, such a core consideration. If Harper wants to send a signal that his government is really serious about "cutting the fat", then dealing with these obscene pensions would detract from the "do as I say, not as I do flavour" to all these philosophical proclamations.