The news on the wire puts forward a motion to increase the size of parliament by 30 members. These new MPs would be hustled in during the 2015 election from new ridings whose borders have yet to be decided. As a result of the increase of 6 MPs from BC, 6 from Alberta, 3 from Quebec, and 15 from Ontario, the country would have a better representation by population as perscribed in the Constitution. The catch, is that it will cost Canadian Taxpayers at least $157,731.00 / new MP per year, the base salary an MP obtains (as demonstrated here). That works out to a total of $4,731,930 per year.
But we’re undergoing a period where words like “austerity”, “belt tightening”, and “strategic reorganization” is necessary to trim the budget in order to reduce and remove the Canadian deficit (projected at $34.62 BILLION this year), and in turn, the Canadian Debt (approx $551.38 BILLION and climbing). We’re looking at massive trimmings across the board, with even the Conservative’s recently injected military funding finding its way to the chopping block. This means massive cuts in various public services, the dismantling of some successful programs, and a great many people working in the public sector sprucing up their resumes as they prepare to enter a struggling private sector.
The one area no one has even bothered to suggest cutting is MP’s salaries. With the 308 people we have elected right now, we spend $48.6 million dollars on their base salaries alone. A number that, without an increase in salaries, will climb to a little over $53.3 Million with the addition of 30 new MPs. My mother once taught me a very important lesson. She told me you need to lead by example. If Parliament wants the people of Canada to tighten their belts, so should Parliamentarians. If they want departments to trim their spending, they should cut their own.
In my opinion, any growth in the number of MPs should maintain the same total wages, or contain budget cuts. Taking the $48.6 Million currently spent as the base salary of $157,731 that MPs make today, and dividing it amongst 338 instead of 308, we have a new base salary of $143,731.21. That’s still an incredibly generous figure considering attendance records in the House of Commons. I would go one step further, and cut that base salary to a still-generous $130,000. This trimming would decrease the salary expenses on Parliament Hill by $4,641,148 and better balance our current representation by population system.
Sure, a trim of $4.6 Million, not counting the resulting trims in additional salaries granted to special MPs, is a meagre 0.013% of our projected deficit, but it’s still a trim and a very important step. Even making the MP growth a revenue-neutral move would be a great fiscal move by the government to demonstrate that parliamentarians are, at least a little bit, in touch with the troubles of regular people. I may prefer a new form of proportional representation, but if we’re going to stick with our FPP rep-by-pop, we should at least be able to keep its costs in check. Cuts start at home, and you can’t ask someone to do something you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself. MPs need to follow those golden rules just like everyone else.
Popularity: 43% [?]
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