Delivering a speech to the Economic Club of Canada on Monday, Treasury Board President Tony Clement announced changes to the Members of Parliament pension and the end of subsidized parking for federal ministers' aides.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are in the next phase of “transforming” government, according to Tory MP Tony Clement, who made a breakfast speech Tuesday. Part of the transformation includes making MPs and public servants pay for half of their pension contributions and take away subsidized parking for cabinet ministers’ chiefs of staff.
The revamping of the pension contributions will lead to less of a burden for taxpayers, who were on the hook for 86 percent of their elected officials’ and civil servants’ pensions. The ratio will now be 50-50.
Although it would only bring a fraction of savings to taxpayers, the Tory government confirmed the ban of free parking for chiefs of staffs, about two dozen in Ottawa. Clement did not say whether or not ministers themselves will also give up their many perks, such as extravagant travel budgets and chauffeurs.
“Refocusing government and reining in costs means thinking about what exactly we pay for things that may not have made economic sense for a long time but have been so ingrained that we never questioned them,” said the Parry Sound-Muskoka MP in his prepared remarks.
“We are closing the loop on a number of perks that send an important message that every nickel — not penny — of taxpayers’ money should be scrupulously accounted for.” He added: “These savings send a signal through the government that living within our means, finding efficiencies and ending entitlements are the way forward.”
Clement’s end to free parking is similar to an announcement he made earlier this year which implemented the removal of parking subsidies for government executives. This accounted for $2.6 million in annual savings.
Furthermore, the government unveiled its Red Tape Reduction Action Plan, according to a press release. The plan initiates 90 department-specific reforms and common sense solutions to various issues, such as payroll, labour, cross-border trade and others.
It is estimated that red tape costs companies in Canada about $30 billion.
“The Government's plan will make Canada a global leader in addressing and controlling red tape," said Laura Jones, Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). "More importantly, elements of the plan have the potential to actually make a difference in the lives of entrepreneurs who struggle daily with government red tape."
The prime minister recently appointed Clement to head a new subcommittee on government-wide efficiencies and business transformation as part of an initiative to find more savings. The appointment was made due to Clement’s diligence in finding $5.2 billion in spending cuts that various departments will make over the next three years.