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Commentary

A Big Fat Raise for MPs

Tue, April 13, 2021   |   Author: Taylor   |   Volume 28    Issue 15 | Share: Gab | Facebook | Twitter   

When federal and provincial politicians and unelected bureaucrats tell you that “ . . . we’re all in this together,” you have to wonder what they mean by that. Apparently, they don’t mean—while businesses across the country are shuttered and employees are being sent home—that MPs, MLAs, Premiers and public health officers are tightening their own belts, cutting their own salaries and reducing their own economic footprints. They may simply be saying that we all breathe the same air, read the same newspapers and live in the same country. That sentiment does nothing to encourage the unemployed, those locked out of the businesses and churches. After all, those offering the platitudes are still drawing a full paycheque and have not really felt the pinch.

In fact, on April 1, 2021, MPs in Ottawa received an automatic pay raise of $3,200. When I say ‘automatic,’ I mean that the pay raise was pre-arranged by a bill passed in the House in 2005. Apparently, the current base pay rate—$182,600 for a backbench MP—is not enough? I know that many struggling small business owners and hourly employees would love to have an annual income like that. Statistics Canada reports the loss of 700,000 jobs over the past year. Why shouldn’t MPs and MLAs share at least a token amount of the cost of these lockdowns when those who are paying MPs’ salaries are being financially crushed by mandated unemployment? Are we “all in this together” or not?

It seems as though many politicians—and other government employees whose paycheques have kept coming regularly in spite of COVID—just don’t grasp the impact that closing businesses, churches and schools has had on the rest of society. Many Canadians have been financially devastated. Their normal interactions with their families and faith communities have been denied them, and those writing and enforcing public health orders seem to have become tone-deaf.

Go back two years. Can you imagine a business owner just closing his or her business for a couple of weeks? For many, that would be the end of their business. The lockdowns imposed by our governments during this crisis have lasted months with few signs of a let-up any time soon. There just isn’t the kind of profit margin in most small businesses to be able to survive an extended period without sales revenue.

Not only have the federal and provincial governments thrown unacceptable impediments in the paths of businesspeople and hourly workers, but also the level of federal and provincial spending has skyrocketed to unheard-of and unbelievable levels. While those receiving their CERB cheques are obviously grateful for the stopgap measures to postpone bankruptcy and foreclosures, most people realize that adding nearly $400 billion to the national debt in one year is a recipe for disaster down the road. With Canada’s federal debt now over one trillion dollars, the additional debt servicing and repayment costs will do one of three things:

  • Reduce our ability to provide services,
  • Force a sudden and painful increase in taxes,
  • Leave a mountain of debt burden for future generations,

. . . or perhaps all three.

But the worst is yet to come. By every indication, the feds plan to keep on spending your taxes and whatever they can borrow . . . to provide dubious short-term relief while keeping Canada’s economic engines stalled. Around the world, oil prices are slowly rising, but Canada’s pipeline plans are in shambles, so we are not able to reap the benefits of that increase. Countless restaurants and services are dead or dying, and, perhaps more importantly, the natural will and desire of the young and healthy to provide for their families is being stymied and undermined.

Inflation is also beginning to take its toll. The cost of groceries might be the place where we notice it first, but the skyrocketing cost of housing and building supplies is another major symptom. Increases in carbon taxes will inevitably raise the cost of every good and service we use. Families and governments at all levels have enjoyed extremely low interest levels in recent decades but there is no guarantee that those levels, will continue. When interest rates go up—as they inevitably will—a great many Canadians will be trapped between their mortgages and an insecure job market. No wonder mental illness, drug abuse and suicides are on the rise.

Meanwhile, scarce tax revenues are being used in foolish and harmful ways. We see swarms of police deployed—on foot, on bicycles, on horseback and in cruisers—to hand out onerous fines, to arrest and intimidate pastors and to put up fencing to keep people from going to church; that’s not only deeply offensive but a waste of valuable law enforcement resources at a time when we can least afford it. Every hour police forces spend enforcing these public health edicts is an hour not spent investigating real crimes.

The economic damage of the wasteful and foolish COVID lockdown measures will be with us for a long time. For MPs to quietly allow their automatic pay raises to continue while their constituents are suffering a crippling economic setback is cynical and self-serving. I agree with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, which is urging MPs to not only end their automatic salary boost but to also cut their salaries by 15%. Premiers and provincial public health officers should do the same. If we’re really all in this together, those elected to represent us in Ottawa and in provincial capitals should be prepared to set an example. It might be a good incentive for them to get Canada’s economy going again.

For a political party that looks to the future with a respect for the past, and a focus on responsible moral and economic values, join CHP.



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