Thursday, December 21, 2006

25% Pay Hike for Ontario MPPs

Ontario MPPs are voting today on a proposal that, if passed (and it will pass), will see salaries increase to more than $110,000 a year. Cabinet ministers will get an increase of $31,000, bringing their salaries to $157,633 a year, while the Premier will earn juts under $200,000 a year.

Liberals and Conservatives argue that the 25% pay hike is justified because the wage gap between federal MPs and provincial MPPs has become far too great. They argue that MPPs will start heading for the House of Commons if Queen’s Park doesn’t move quickly to close the gap. They also argue, along with an independent commissioner, that most MPPs are making less than some municipal politicians.These arguments seem pretty flawed to me. First, if provincial politicians want to earn what an MP makes, they should run in the next federal election. Second, the comparison with federal MPs is flawed because it is different work. It’s not more important or less important, but it is different. MPP salaries should be compared to salaries of provincial politicians across Canada. This more logical comparison demonstrates that Ontario MPPs are among the most well compensated in the country.

Members of the Ontario NDP caucus have taken a principled position on the pay hike by indicating that they will turn the raise over to charity.