Press release : $122,000 for two years of being absent
Candiac, May 3, 2012 – The Quebec Taxpayers League is outraged that nothing seems to be preventing LaFontaine MNA, Tony Tomassi, from receiving a severance pay of $122,000 despite hardly having set foot in the National Assembly over the past two years.
These “transition allowances” as they are called, are paid to all MNAs who quit their seat down, even if they do so mid-mandate, entailing subsequent partial elections. Such severance packages are considered confidential and cannot be obtained by an Access to Information request. The League has therefore had to calculate the severance pay of Mr. Tomassi, which we estimate at $122,000.
Over the last many years, the League has drawn a lot of attention to several objectionable provisions governing the disbursement of these transition allowances. But the case of Mr. Tomassi is particularly shocking due to his absenteeism. It's already troubling that he received a salary despite having barely set foot in the National Assembly since being fired from the Liberal Caucus, back in May of 2010.
“We can only hope that, by whatever manner possible, Mr. Tomassi be obliged to reimburse his severance pay as well as his salary for the last two years,” says Claire Joly, Executive Director of the League. “It's a matter of public confidence in the political class. This will be a true test for the Ethics Commissioner who is studying the case following a complaint filed by MNA Éric Caire. It will also test all MNAs who ultimately decide whether or not to implement the Commissioner's recommendations.”
The League would finally like to point out that Mr. Tomassi is the eighth MNA to resign since the last general election, which was only three and a half years ago. If they all take place, the cost of holding partial elections to replace these resigned MNAs could reach $4.8 million. By tallying together all the severance packages of those resigned MNAs, the total bill could reach $5.862 million.
The Quebec Taxpayers League is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to defend the interests of this province's taxpayers. The League denounces the wastage of public funds and demands lower taxes.
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For further information, please contact:
Claire Joly, Executive Director
Quebec Taxpayers League