Payette resignation shines light on generous pension, expense account for former GGs

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Taxpayers will continue paying Julie Payette a generous pension and an even heftier expense account for the rest of her life, even though she served just three years as governor general and resigned under a cloud.
    
As a former governor general, she's entitled to an annual pension of nearly $150,000.
    
And she's entitled to claim up to $206,000 a year, for life and even six months after, to cover expenses incurred as a result of ongoing responsibilities related to her former office.
    
The pension is guaranteed under the Governor General's Act, which makes no distinction between someone who completes their five-year term without incident and someone who leaves early, for whatever reason.
    
While Parliament could amend the law, Carleton University associate professor Philippe Lagasse says it would be difficult to apply changes retroactively to strip Payette of her pension.
    
By contrast, the expense account is entirely within the purview of the government to change or scrap, as it sees fit; a 2019 independent review of the program recommended that expenses be reimbursed for a defined number of years after a governor general leaves office, not for life.