Rahim Jaffer was first elected to the House of Commons in 1997 at the age of 25 serving as Reform/Canadian Alliance/Conservative MP for the Edmonton-Strathcona riding in Alberta. He served Canada for 11 years and 4 months until his defeat by the NDP in the election of 2008, a contest he lost by 400 votes.
Mr. Jaffer attended the University of Ottawa where he received a Bachelor of Social Studies degree in 1993. He worked as a legislative assistant in Parliament and was co-owner of a Timothy's coffee shop franchise in Edmonton. He reached the zenith of his political career in February 2006 when he was appointed Conservative Party Caucus Chair by Stephen Harper. Politically, he was best known for allowing one of his aides to impersonate him on a national radio live call-in broadcast for which he was demoted to the back benches.
When Mr. Jaffer was elected as a Member of Parliament at the age of 25, his Member of Parliament annual base salary was $64,400 with non-taxable expense allowance of $21,300. In the same year, Canadian 2 parent/2 earner families with 2 children had average family income of $66,299. On what planet was it fair that Canadian taxpayers paid a newly graduated university student with minimal life experience more than an average 2 earner Canadian family?
What is even more disturbing about this situation is that because Mr. Jaffer served for more than 6 years, Canadian taxpayers are on the hook for his MP's pension which he can start collecting when he turns 55 in December 2026 and which he will collect for the remainder of his life. How many Canadians can say that? Unfortunately, the exact size of individual MP pensions is not readily available to the public so Canadian taxpayers don't know how much they will ultimately be expected to pay.
This system has to change.
p.s. Fortunately, despite Mr. Jaffer's request, the Edmonton-Strathcona riding went ahead with their nomination meeting in May 2009 without him and nominated Ryan Hastman. I would suggest that his recent activities will likely preclude any future return to the hallowed halls of Parliament. That is Canada's good fortune.
Parliamentary Indemnities, Salaries and Allowances
Family Income 1997 (sourced from Statistics Canada)