Nova Scotia

Premier looks to close pension loophole for convicted MLAs

There could be changes coming to the legislation affecting MLA pensions, said Premier Darrell Dexter on Thursday.

Move follows outrage over the fact 3 convicted former MLAs will keep their full pensions

There could be changes coming to the legislation affecting MLA pensions, said Premier Darrell Dexter on Thursday.

There has been public outrage over the fact that three convicted former MLAs will keep their full pensions.

Dexter said he has asked his staff to look at ways to change that provision.

The current legislation states that if a sitting member of the legislature is convicted of a crime, they can be removed from the pension plan. Their contributions would be returned with interest but they would lose their lifelong pension benefits.

However, that legislation doesn't apply to former MLA's, meaning Dave Wilson, Richard Hurlburt, and Russell MacKinnon — who all stepped down before pleading guilty — get to keep their full pensions.

Dexter said he has asked his staff to look at changing the legislation to close that loophole.

"Maybe we can find something that will serve that purpose and I think give voice to frustration that certainly I feel, and I think other Nova Scotians feel," said Dexter.

The legislature resumes sitting next week, but a spokesperson for the premier’s office said it's too early to say whether new pension legislation would be ready to introduce during the spring session.

Independent MLA Trevor Zinck is the lone MLA still facing charges. He is expected to stand trial in June.

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