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‘A spit in the ocean’: Canadian MPs get annual pay hikes. One expert says they’re not outrageous



All members of Parliament, the prime minister, opposition party leaders and ministers have received pay hikes between $8,500 and $17,000 this year.


Parliamentarians’ pay increases are adjusted each year on April 1 based on average wage bumps from major private sector settlements, resulting in a 4.4 per cent pay hike this year, Mathieu Gravel, director of outreach and media relations at the Office of the Speaker, said in an email to CTVNews.ca on Tuesday.


The MP pay increases are “automatic” under the Parliament of Canada Act, Gravel said.


The sessional allowance or base salary for all MPs as of April 1, 2024, is $203,100, up $8,500 from $194,600 last year. MPs with special titles also receive top-ups.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s total salary this year is $406,200, up $17,000 from $389,200 last year.


A minister’s total pay rose to $299,900 this year, up $8,500 from $291,400 in 2023.


Leader of the Opposition and the Conservative party Pierre Poilievre earned a total salary of $299,900 this year, up $12,500 from $287,400 in 2023.


Total pay for NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and leaders of other parties rose by $11,300 to $271,700 this year from $260,400 in 2023.


Senators’ total salary climbs to $178,100 in 2024, up $8,500 from $169,600 last year.


Backbenchers – or MPs who are neither cabinet ministers nor opposition party leaders – received $203,100 this year, up $8,500 from $194,600 in 2023.


Although the increases are expected each year, Canadian Taxpayers Federation federal director Franco Terrazzano questions why all MPs’ salaries were not frozen this year given Canadians are struggling with high inflation and an affordability crisis. In response to the 2008-09 recession, he said the federal government under then-Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper stopped these pay raises between 2010 and 2013.


But since 2020, Terrazzano said, MPs have received salary increases.


“Canadians were struggling with a pandemic with lockdowns, with sky high inflation, with the housing affordability crisis, with food banks seeing record lineups, but none of that stopped MPs from giving themselves a raise every single year while their constituents struggled,” he said Tuesday in a video interview with CTVNews.ca.


He accused MPs of “stuffing their wallets with more money.”


In response to the criticisms about the salary hikes, Philippe-Alexandre Langlois, press secretary at the Office of the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, reiterated the information Gravel provided to CTVNews.ca.


Nelson Wiseman, professor emeritus at the department of political science at the University of Toronto, believes the salaries of MPs, the prime minister and ministers are not high at all given the demands of their jobs.


“I don’t think it’s outrageous,” Wiseman said in a phone interview with CTVNews.ca, noting that he thinks most professors, CEOs and numerous other professionals make more money than MPs. “Being an MP or even a senator is very demanding – most people don’t realize it.”


He said the issue of MPs’ raises is “overblown.”


“I think too much is made of the salaries received by these public officials. When you think about what they are responsible for and the total budget of the government of Canada, you’re talking about a spit in the ocean.”


A new Leger survey commissioned by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation showed 80 per cent of Canadians are against the MP pay raises.


The results are based on an online survey of 1,541 Canadians, 18 and older, using Leger’s online panel, which has more than 400,000 members. The survey was completed between March 15 and 18. Leger says a margin of error cannot be associated with a web panel.

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