Michael paid MHA pension and salary at the same time

James McLeod
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St. John's East-Quidi Vidi NDP MHA Lorraine Michael and Gerry Rogers, NDP MHA for St. John's Centre, wait for the MHA swearing-in ceremony to begin at Confederation Building Dec. 18, 2015. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Michael, Rogers both getting top-ups for House roles

New Democrat MHA Lorraine Michael is getting paid an MHA pension, while she still simultaneously draws a salary as MHA of more than $108,000.

Speaker Tom Osborne confirmed that in addition to her base salary as an MHA, plus a supplemental salary for serving as NDP caucus whip, Michael is also receiving an MHA pension.

“It’s my understanding that once an individual in Canada reaches the age of 71, they must draw their pension,” Osborne told the Telegram. “If they continue to work, I guess they draw their pension and their salary.”

Michael was first elected in 2006. While pension entitlements are extremely complicated to calculate, Michael’s pension entitlement would amount to around $50,000 per year.

The payments for the NDP are quietly becoming a source of frustration among some politicians in the province, as the government grapples with a deficit of nearly $2 billion, and the new Liberal government says it is looking for ways to slash spending across the board by 30 per cent.

In the November election, the party only won two seats, but that still gives them standing as an official caucus under the House of Assembly Accountability, Integrity and Administration Act.

In the law, the caucus whip’s job comes with a salary of $13,517. The whip’s job is primarily just wrangling the other members of caucus in the House of Assembly, but with only two members of caucus, as whip Michael will pretty much just be wrangling Rogers.

Similarly, to chair a caucus of just two people, Rogers is getting paid $13,517 — on top of the base $95,357 MHA salary.

Speaking to the Telegram, Michael said she plans on working hard for the supplemental salary.

“In the House of Assembly, I will be the de facto house leader for us, but there is no official house leader for the third party according to legislation,” she said. “Yet I will perform that. I will go to all of the meetings with the other house leaders, and I will do all of that work.”

Michael said if anybody objects to the New Democrats receiving supplemental allowances, there should be a broader review of all salaries.

“If this was an issue that were raised that would come before the House Management Commission, I would be totally open to having a discussion about our legislation — absolutely open,” she said. “At this point in time, receiving the salary will mean to me that I will do everything that I believe a whip has to do, and will work for that money.”

Osborne said that all of this stuff may come up when the House of Assembly Management Commission meets, likely sometime later this month.

The management commission oversees all administration of finances and administrative support for the House of Assembly and MHA constituency matters.

“Those positions have been funded for the third party, and it is something that will have to be looked at,” he said. “If there were any changes, that would have to be looked at by the management commission.”

As for receiving the pension and salary at the same time, Michael said that’s just the law.

“I’m no longer paying into the pension, so the pension can’t increase, and neither is the government,” she said. “I’m receiving a pension that I paid into, that is legitimate. I have to receive it. I don’t think that receiving a pension is a reason for not being an MHA.”


jmcleod@thetelegram.com Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: NDP, House of Assembly Accountability, Integrity and Administration Act.In House Management Commission Assembly Management Commission

Geographic location: Canada

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Recent comments

  • swimski
    February 05, 2016 - 13:48

    Why did this make the news but Gerry Byrne leaving federal politics in order to avoid the new pension rules, and collect his full pension of around $128,000, did not? Byrne will be collecting $276,000 a year in combined pension and salary when he turns 55, and will be eligible for a provincial pension with a few more years of service. So why focus on two women who are playing by the rules, in a political landscape dominated by men????

  • M Gosse
    February 05, 2016 - 09:50

    Greed is an terrible thing.....the NDP are no different than other parties even though they purport to be.....discusted.....very unethical .....using the law as a reason does not make it right. Shame

  • Norm Mercer, Mount Pearl,NL.
    February 04, 2016 - 17:58

    Dear Sir or Madame; In a province facing a budget deficit of close to $2 billion dollars and with so many seniors, low income people and people with disabilities trying to live on just a few thousand dollars, and the list of needs goes on, and to believe that the NDP are there for those who are homeless, living in poverty, living on the margins and in poverty, unbelievable, what I have just read and just heardon TV! Shame on you Lorraine Michael and Gerri Rogers! You two along with other MHAs just don't get it and to say I work hard and these are the rules! It must be tough living on an MHA s salary and perks! All of this needs to come out and be immediately changed , no double dipping, no extra salaries as Party Whip, etc! What a farce and the same goes for Speaker and Parliamentary Secretaries! Trim these extra salaries back ! I call on Finance Minister Cathy Bennett and Premier Dwight Ball to show leadership and trim all of this back as this is nothing but Greed and Abuse of the Peoples Money! Lorraine Michael should be ashamed of herself! Party of Two Members and there is a lot more waste in the Peoples' House than with just these two NDP MHAs! Totally Disgusted ! Me thinks if I can, I must attend the next House of Assembly Financial Management Committee Meeting1 Is there extra pay too for sitting on Committees! What happened to Public Service! Respectfully! Norm Mercer Resident Mount Pearl!

  • Fr mercer
    February 04, 2016 - 17:10

    Sounds a lot like 1st nation stuff to me 159/175k$a year,not bad not bad att all for what ,say again For What? Imagine that in nfld too!

  • Ed
    February 04, 2016 - 15:24

    I have no problem with her collecting her salary - she was elected. I also agree that the law says she must collect her pension after age 70 -BUT- who passed the law that these politicians are now claiming forces them to do take this pension at age 70? With regard to the $13,500 for being the NDP whip - give me a break. Does Gerry really need to be whipped that much? A party whip for a party of two - I don't think so.

  • just saying
    February 04, 2016 - 14:46

    Ms. Michaels is 71 & still working, good for her! Imho, no one should collect any public pension until the age of 65. We have many public employees collecting pensions in their 50's. Life spans are now well in to our 80's & 30+ years collecting any public pension is far too long.

  • Mindful
    February 04, 2016 - 13:26

    Typical that a fuss should start about the one credible person in the NL parliament that really does the job she is being paid to do and asks well-presented pertinent questions of the politicians who hold power. She is taking her pension b/c the LAW states that she must and is no longer paying into that pension and neither is the province. Wonder where this nit picking began!

    • Randy
      February 04, 2016 - 15:33

      She's doing a commendable job of feathering he own nest. If everyone abused the system like Lorraine Michaels, we'd be worse off than we already are. Hard to believe anyone would defend such abuse when there are so many truly needy people in our midst

    • Shane
      February 04, 2016 - 15:56

      Judging by the article, this fuss was kicked up by the Conservatives and Liberals who are apparently frustrated by MHAs who earn their living.

  • Mr. Realistic
    February 04, 2016 - 11:53

    I laugh at all the people on here crapping all over Lorraine for being paid the same salary as any other MHA in Government, for receiving a pension she has to draw on once she turn 71 years of age (which she is), and for being paid roughly $14,000 for being on a committee that other members of the HOA receive for doing the same type of work. The people on here should be ashamed of themselves. I'm sure if they were in that position they would all do the same. Have you all forgot about out great Mayor of St. John's. This Mayor of ours is getting a teacher's pension, mayors salary, getting paid extra for performing duties that should be included in his salary (like wedding ceremonies), probably receiving Canada Pension and Old Age Pension (he looks old enough to be receiving those as well). On top of all that is partially responsible for hiking up out taxes to exuberant levels. You are picking on and criticizing the wrong person. You should redirect your envy and hatred towards DOC not Lorraine.

    • Randy
      February 04, 2016 - 12:36

      How can Lorraine Michaels be retired from a job and getting a pension because she is retired from it WHILE doing the same job and getting a salary for the same job she is retired from? Typical NDP!

    • Mr. Realistic
      February 04, 2016 - 13:34

      @Randy...Obviously, you either didn't read the whole story or you are having trouble understanding it. Because she is 71 years old, the law says she has to and is entitled to start drawing on / receiving her pension. Don't fault her for laws she had no hand in creating. If she enjoys her job and likes working at the age of 71, what's it to you.

  • jackielogans
    February 04, 2016 - 11:52

    Greed trumps Integrity once again. Doesn't matter if they are Capitalists or Socialists, MONEY RULES!

  • Trudy
    February 04, 2016 - 11:23

    As Ms. Micheal has said, she is willing to have this issued reviewed for all! An article by 'The Telegram' December 8, 2014: MHAs are pension eligible after five years of service and two general assemblies. This fact is relevant to precisely one MHA. It just so happens that MHA is also the premier of the province. Davis was elected in a byelection on March 16, 2010. An MHA’s years of service for the purpose of the pension plan are calculated from the day he or she is elected, through to the day he or she resigns (or loses an election.) That means Davis becomes eligible for an MHA pension on March 16 of next year. How many much more can we save by taking a look at all who receive pensions, paychecks, allowances, expense claims, bonuses, extra fees, etc., etc.,

  • Muggins
    February 04, 2016 - 11:08

    My question is How does the NDP even qualify for party status & all the associated perks? In NL you need 4 elected members to be granted party status, yet Ball has said the NDP can keep theirs, just because. They are thick as thieves in that legislature no matter who you elect. Seems to me like a total disregard for fiscal responsibility ......because, you know, we're so flush with friggin' cash! Screw everyone else as long as they're ok, Right honorable members?

  • Winston Fiander
    February 04, 2016 - 10:59

    There is no justification for this. No wonder Michaels pushed George Murphy aside.

  • Gerald Patrick.
    February 04, 2016 - 09:43

    And why are we all surprised? This is just another example of the parasites among us in the arena of politics. And if we expect elected officials (at the taxpayers trough) to change the rules that effect their financial gain as politicians, then we are lacking in worldy experience & understanding.....just a simple case of naiveté.

  • Doug
    February 04, 2016 - 08:40

    You got to be kidding, $50,000 year pension for being a MHA for 9 years on top of $95,000 year salary in addition to other perks. This has to be addressed, someone should publish all the salaries and pensions that our elected officials are receiving for a complete review and over hall. Liberals show the leadership and get the process started

  • Tax Payer
    February 04, 2016 - 08:21

    I cant imagine public service workers drawing a pension like this. I can see why everybody wants to be a MHA . I think government salary and pensions should go through a public panel hearing of every day working people and be accountable. MHA,S hey lets give ourselves a raise nobody will say anything . Is it really like that ?

  • george p b
    February 04, 2016 - 07:01

    An honorable person would decline some of that fat salary....

  • steve
    February 04, 2016 - 06:12

    Yes they are really concerned over the DIRE finances of the province aren,t they. 14000.00 to tell the other one to show up to caucus.This is A FARCE ! While the province goes to hell in a handbasket. Before one civil servant is laid off caucus salaries should be cut by 20 percentTHis stuff makes me vomit.

  • harbourmaster
    February 04, 2016 - 06:01

    I would imagine Ms. Michael will do the right thing and donate the pension to a charity of her choice. Because there is a loop hole in the law it does not necessarily mean that the individual will take advantage of it.

  • Randy
    February 04, 2016 - 05:40

    Don't publish any comments here. You might offend Lorraine fans Lana Pain and Bob Wakemam!

  • Jim H
    February 03, 2016 - 20:53

    It reminds me of of the comment made,"I am entitled to my entitlements", I think it was Dave Dingwall . So much for putting on a good show, helping the poor what a joke. You can see why the NDP will never amount to anything here in NL down to two seats.

  • John Jr. Smith
    February 03, 2016 - 19:56

    Of course she is fine with this, she is a member of the Union Party after all.

  • LPG
    February 03, 2016 - 19:03

    The NDP is a joke. $165k for what?

  • Ranter
    February 03, 2016 - 18:40

    Salaries and pensions are the single largest expense the province has.

  • Dee
    February 03, 2016 - 18:25

    Don't think for a minute that Miss Michael,s is any better,she is just as greedy as rest of the politicians including Tommy,and yes at Tax Payer.i paid into my pension for over thirty years and I don't get near that.Believe me I worked just as hard or harder but we were always put on wage freezes we had no chance at getting ahead with a greedy government.

  • fred
    February 03, 2016 - 17:32

    Yes there is one of our big problems. Not that she is getting a pension but how rich the pensions are. I can't imagine working only 9 years and getting a $50,000 define benefit plan. All public service jobs period needs the pensions stripped away. Align them with the real world say max 5% matching between employee and employer. There is no such thing as defined benefit plans in the real world. This type of plan only happens when you have people spending other peoples money. It's robbery of joe public feom the top down.

  • ger
    February 03, 2016 - 17:12

    When I get my OAS next year, my gov. pension will be reduced by @ 6500.00 per year so I will lose what should be a top up to help me survive. You also have to realize that my personal contributions to my pension were in the vicinity of @ 9000.00 per year so I have paid my dues. Is Ms. Michaels and company in the same boat as us????"

  • Jude
    February 03, 2016 - 17:10

    If an elderly person has two pensions, the government claws it back. What makes some, who are voted into a position, more important and deserving of PERKS! Isn't the prestige of their position, without gouging the very people who are trusting and depending on them to defend their rights enough. . All Residents of Canada, should NEVER be able to draw more than ONE PENSION, not even public figures. If you are Lucky enough to be eligible for more than one, take the highest of them all. NOT two or three!! I wonder just how many jobs would just appear of of nowhere, if all the double and triple dippers were stop. No more perks for parliamentarians. Think of all that could be saved if they just worked for their salary and pension, like the Rest of Us. Does Anyone Have a CONSCIENCE ???

  • Steve
    February 03, 2016 - 17:07

    It's the same pension plan and the same rules that apply to any other MHA, it's just that most of them quit before they are her age. The fact is that she started her political career relatively late in life, she hasn't done anything wrong by being an elected MHA in her 70s.

    • Mr. Realistic
      February 04, 2016 - 11:28

      I laugh at all the people on here crapping all over Lorraine for being paid the same salary as any other MHA in Government, for receiving a pension she has to draw on once she turn 71 years of age (which she is), and for being paid roughly $14,000 for being on a committee that other members of the HOA receive for doing the same type of work. The people on here should be ashamed of themselves. I'm sure if they were in that position they would all do the same. Have you all forgot about out great Mayor of St. John's. This Mayor of ours is getting a teacher's pension, mayors salary, getting paid extra for performing duties that should be included in his salary (like wedding ceremonies), probably receiving Canada Pension and Old Age Pension (he looks old enough to be receiving those as well). On top of all that is partially responsible for hiking up out taxes to exuberant levels. You are picking on and criticizing the wrong person. You should redirect your envy and hatred towards DOC not Lorraine.

  • Shameful
    February 03, 2016 - 17:05


  • Tony
    February 03, 2016 - 16:59

    This just goes to show how much is being wasted in government and all wages in government and all pensions need to be looked at to save money. See how fast these MHA's care for their province and communities then.

  • Randy
    February 03, 2016 - 16:57

    Somebody's true colors are showing now Ms.Michaels. How shameful!

  • Paul
    February 03, 2016 - 16:37

    I am wondering how much the new MHAs and Ministers are spending to redecorate and refurbish their new office suites. in this economic situation, they should not spend one red penny on paint or furniture. just use what is already there, especially the Ministerial suites. how many jobs will the new paint jobs cost the civil service?

  • coaster
    February 03, 2016 - 16:31

    And you wonder why politicians are all smiles when they get elected, it also explains why job #1 for all politicians is getting elected. Work hard for the money, what utter nonsense.

  • Randy
    February 03, 2016 - 16:31

    Unreal abuse. Lorraine Michaels should be ashamed of herself!

  • Shane
    February 03, 2016 - 16:24

    ... Really? We're talking about BILLIONS of deficit spending, and the Coniberals are trying to throw one of our best and brightest under the bus? Before I elaborate: I'm not an NDP fanboy. My loyalty is to this province. This rant is non-partisan. We're talking about deficit spending in the BILLIONS.As a friendly reminder that's millions of millions of our -children's- money that we are spending for today's political popularity contest. .. so why are we trying to lynch a strong MHA because of ~$14k a year and a pension she has earned? That's what, 0.003% of the problem resolved? While we're on the subject, how about the pensions that DON'T make sense? How many are drawing big, early pensions for the rest of their life from our pockets? The MHA in my district just became a financial liability on NL for the rest of his life for at LEAST 20k/yr (if he's re-elected that'll nearly double btw). What other job can you work for 5 years and retire on the public pocket? This isn't fair, this is madness! Better yet, why aren't we bringing forth swathes of relevant information of the public consultation PR stunt? Shouldn't documents like this be front and center? http://www.budget.gov.nl.ca/budget2015/salarydetails/salary_details_2015.pdf There's much more to this than government spending though. We're arguing how to share the public purse between the government and the people when we should be working together to stop money falling out of it. Our economy is dwindling because money is leaving the province, so how do we keep it home? How about raising corporate taxes? Their bottom line is how much money they take out of NL. Let's make them pay to play, this province belongs to US not to corporations. "Oh but they'll leave and we'll lose jobs!" If they pack up that's GREAT! That's a huge business opportunity for home grown business that keeps our dollars at home. Speaking of home grown, why don't we make our own products? Grow our own food? Every product or service we import is exported dollars which is a smaller purse for all of us to share. The point I'm getting to here is there are LOTS of ways for us to effectively pull out of our tailspin, going down the rabbit-hole isn't one of them.

  • GeoffChaulk
    February 03, 2016 - 16:22

    Gross, gross, gross; greed is an ugly thing.

  • Observer
    February 03, 2016 - 16:20

    The Sisters of Mercy could put that $13,517 to good use, had Lorraine opted to make charitable use of that "easy" money. Rather self- serving and hypocritical is the elephant in this room....

  • roy206
    February 03, 2016 - 16:11

    Open and transparent....Other than serving as a politician, one would require higher education and considerable experience to earn that kind of money.... But not when it comes to the "top job in the land"...we are prepared to take the colored shirt and pay them much more than they would ever earn at a real job....no education or experience required to lead....reinforcing JM 's recent article

  • david
    February 03, 2016 - 16:08

    Socialists are no more greedy or selfish than anyone else. It's their transparent, brazen, utter hypocrisy that makes them worse.

  • Dolf
    February 03, 2016 - 15:50

    Being paid an additional $13,000.00 to do what they're paid $95,000.00 for is just plain nuts. No wonder government has become a gravy train for MHAs.

  • Me
    February 03, 2016 - 15:43

    Disgusting. The more we hear about the House, the worse they look. How much did she pay in???

  • A tax payer
    February 03, 2016 - 15:31

    So she paid into it for 9 years, and is now drawing a 50k a year pension!? That is some pension plan!

    • Indefensible
      February 03, 2016 - 19:12

      And Lorraine vigorously defending it.

    • mk
      February 04, 2016 - 00:09

      And you wonder why NL is in the state it's in. See what this government will do...what a joke