A senator has proposed a private members’ bill which would see former governor general Julie Payette lose her generous government pension and benefits.
Conservative Senator Claude Carignan says he will be putting forward a bill which would see governor generals lose their benefits if they resign before completing their terms.
The move comes after Payette resigned in January after a report alleged she harassed and abused her staff as governor general. Under the current system, Payette receives an annual pension of almost $150,000 per year.
Payette also qualifies for an annual expense budget of up to $206,000.
“I was shocked and I was angry, like many Canadians, because there is no way to justify earning that amount of pension when you held your job for such a short amount of time. The annual expense budget she has is nearly equivalent to that of the average MP’s office,” Carignan told the National Post.
The bill will prevent governor generals who resign for non-medical reasons from collecting pension and benefits. If passed, Payette will be cut off from taxpayer dollars but will not have to pay back whatever she has already received.
Payette was the first governor general in Canadian history to resign. Last year, an independent report claimed Payette bullied her former staff and created a toxic work environment.
“The issue isn’t limited to just Julie Payette’s case. A person who is governor general for only one week before resigning would also be eligible for the pension and benefits. That’s ridiculous,” Carignan said.
“Let’s be honest, the work that a governor general does after their retirement does not justify the expense budget they currently receive. Not at all.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who originally defended Payette after the report was released, has yet to choose a replacement.
Since Payette’s resignation, her duties have been fulfilled by Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Wagner as administrator.