Canada’s House of Commons (File photo)

Canada’s House of Commons (File photo)

Citizens’ watchdog group calls on MPs to cut their salaries amid COVID-19

Elected MPs, senators and the governor general received their annual pay raises on April 1

More than 160 members of parliament have pledged to donate their annual pay raise to charity amid questions surrounding why the legislated salary boost wasn’t cancelled due to COVID-19.

Elected MPs, senators and the governor general received their annual pay raises on April 1, as part of legislation adopted 15 years ago which mandates salary and allowance increases each calendar year, also known as Bill C-30.

Under that law, MPs are entitled to a 2.1 per cent hike, which will increase their base salaries by just over $3,750 to $182,656. Meanwhile, senators are paid roughly $25,000 less than MPs.

But the novel coronavirus forced the federal government to suspend sittings in parliament until further notice, which left no chance for a moratorium to be placed on this year’s pay hike.

A day before the pay raise took effect, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF), a vocal citizens’ advocacy group, called on elected officials to donate their pay bumps – a move both the prime minister and opposition leader have agreed to.

Since then, 163 MPs have taken that initiative, including 28 representing B.C. ridings.

List of MPs in B.C. who have agreed to donate their pay bump to a charity. (Canadian Tax Federation)

“Hopefully the other 175 follow that example,” the federation said in an email to its supporters on Thursday (April 23).

Now, the CTF is calling on more elected officials in Canada to cut their salaries, as politicians in New Zealand, India, Japan and South Africa have done.

“Since the COVID-19 crisis started, over five million of our fellow citizen have lost their jobs,” the federation said. “Tens of thousands of business owners have been forced to close their doors. And seniors have seen their savings take a hit.”

In New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced recently that she and ministers would take a 20 per cent pay cut for six months to show “solidarity” with citizens impacted by the pandemic.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa announced this month that he and his cabinet would take a 33 per cent slash to salaries, with those funds going into the country’s COVID-19 relief fund.

Earlier this week, federal party leaders agreed to mix in-person and virtual House sittings in the coming weeks, effective until at least May 25.

MPs will hold one in-person sitting a week on Wednesdays with limited staff and parliamentary services. Once secured technology is in place, elected officials will have 90-minute virtual sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Left to right, Wayne Day, AF Ret’d; Doug Prentice, Army Ret’d, Kyle Dalum, Army Ret’d and Randy Kruger. Front, Vicky Kruger. Photo submitted
Veteran donates three quilts to Quilts of Valour after receiving her own

Cindy Postnikoff, who distributes Quilts of Valour to area veterans, as well… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Vancouver Giants defenceman Bowen Byram could be playing for Colorado when the NHL resumes play. (Rik Fedyck/file)
Cranbrook product Bowen Byram makes NHL debut with Avalanche

Highly touted prospect marks first pro game following World Junior tournament in Alberta

Centre 64 in Kimberley. Bulletin file
Kimberley’s Centre 64 receives grant for building improvements

The Kimberley Arts Council/Centre 64 has just received notice that their grant… Continue reading

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Most Read