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Good gig for Oppal if he loses

VANCOUVER - A judicial recount scheduled for Monday will confirm the fate of the hotly contested provincial riding Delta South.

But even if the courts uphold what is for now a 32-vote victory by independent Vicki Huntington over Attorney General Wally Oppal, the high-profile B.C. Liberal MLA won't be hard up for cash.

Departing MLAs will get almost $9 million in retirement benefits or severance payouts, according to calculations done by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

CTF B.C. director Maureen Bader says that for most, that will include 15 months of salary at base pay, which for an MLA, is equivalent to $101,859 - factoring in two cost-of-living increases to a legislated $98,000 salary.

For Oppal and most others, that will mean a $127,324 severance, or "transition allowance," Bader says.

"This is way in excess of anything anyone can get in the private sector," Bader contends. "That's what makes it reprehensible."

Irwin Loy reports for Vancouver 24 hours.

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