It's a pretty sweet deal being a Canadian senator. You don't work much, you travel and entertain a lot on the Canadian taxpayer and get a nice pension at age 75. Here's a look at just how sweet it is!
Let’s start by looking at Senate salaries. The base salary for a Senator is $135,200 annually, well more than twice the average Canadian household income. If you’re lucky enough to be appointed to be the Chair or Vice Chair of a Senate Committee, Canadian taxpayers will pony up another $11,200 or $5,600 to keep you happy. As well, there are additional funds paid to the Speaker, the Leaders of the Government and Opposition in the Senate, the Whips, the Deputy Government and Opposition Whips etcetera ad nauseam. While you won’t get too rich on your base salary, the rest of the perquisites are the upside to the appointment, outside of the pension. Here's a look at the whole compensation package:
Senators' travel expenses are covered under the "64 point" travel system. Their expenses back and forth from their residences are covered if their primary residence is more than 100 kilometres from Parliament Hill. For your information, here's a brief summary of the 64-point travel system:
The number of points used for a trip vary with the destination and departure points, the number of days of travel and the mode of travel used. A single point is deducted for every regular trip to the nation's capital no matter how many days are spent at either destination. Travel within the Senator's region by car result in the deduction of one-quarter of a point and air travel between cities like Ottawa and Toronto would result in the deduction of one-half point for each round trip.
Please note that according to Section 2.6.3, a Senator cannot name a staff member as a designated traveller. In case you wondered, according to Section 2.9.1, the standard for air travel by Senators, their designated travellers and dependent children is business class, after all, why sully yourself by travelling cattle class with the sweaty masses who are footing the bill so that you can live the high life of a Canadian elite!
In fiscal 2011 - 2012, Senate transportation and communications cost Canadian taxpayers $10,614,992, professional services, hospitality and meals cost $3,136538 and accommodation cost $13,158,452.
Here is a listing of the Senate sitting dates for 2012:
Here is a listing of the Senate sitting dates for 2013:
While I realize that Senators have the responsibility to sit on various Committees, their base work year consists of a whopping 90 days of literally sitting in the Red Chamber, usually on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Must be tough sitting there for a three day work week! Fortunately, they have their taxpayer-issued Crackberrys to distract them while they sit there and listen to each other drone on endlessly.
All of this is ours for a mere $100,000,000 annually, give or take a few million!
As I stated in the title, it's a pretty sweet job being a Canadian Senator and thank goodness we have a few willing souls that are brave enough to tackle the hardships involved.