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Bill Kelly: Sorry, no sympathy for complaining MPs

Members of the House of Commons pose for a photo in the chamber before Question Period in the House of Commons Wednesday, December 12, 2018 in Ottawa. Centre block is slated to close for renovations following the fall session. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Once again, some Members of Parliament are complaining that the stress of their jobs and the long hours of being an MP could cause serious physical and mental health issues.

They cite the pressures of trying to get re-elected, the constant partisan sniping that takes place, the complaints and criticism from constituents and the time away from family. All of them are legitimate concerns to be sure and, in this day and age, we’re all much more aware of the impacts of stress and mental health issues.

READ MORE: Parliamentary workload, marathon voting could kill someone someday, MPs warn

But, that’s the nature of the job they signed up for and let’s not forget that they are handsomely compensated for it.

The basic salary of a Member of Parliament is about $173,000 annually, with additional money allocated for Cabinet members and other Parliamentary appointments.

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They pretty much self-police their own expense accounts, including travel expenses and, of course, they have one of the most lucrative pension plans in the land.

How many of their constituents have the same financial safeguards in place to compensate them for the long hours and the stress that they endure on a daily basis?

READ MORE: More than $1.6M to be paid to MPs not running for re-election

Those discontented MPs need to remember that many Canadians have jobs with no benefits and reduced pensions if they even have a pension plan.

It seems that the catalyst for some of this grumbling is those marathon voting sessions that can stretch long into the night near the end of almost every Parliamentary session.

But, even in that case, the MPs themselves are often the architects of their own misfortune.

Most of the time in those arduous sessions is taken up by opposition MPs carping about some government bill that will most assuredly be passed by the ruling government anyway.

We all know that they oppose the legislation, and nothing they say will alter the inevitable outcome, but they all want their opposition rant recorded in Hansard for posterity or self-satisfaction.

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READ MORE: Canada’s MPs to get 1 year of fully paid parental leave

It’s a colossal waste of time, yet it occurs time and time again.

No one is suggesting that there isn’t a great deal of stress for elected officials, but those disenchanted MPs should walk a mile in the shoes of farmers or factory workers or so many other forms of precarious employment.

As the song from the classic Broadway musical Annie states, It’s A Hard Knock Life. But MPs should be thankful that they are generously compensated for their efforts; not all of us have that luxury!

Bill Kelly is the host of the Bill Kelly Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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