Canada’s government is getting panned for allowing a pay hike for members of Parliament to go through even as Canadians struggle with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which, according to some estimates, may take unemployment figures in the country to 15 per cent.
On April 1, members of Canada’s House of Commons and Senate will get an automatic salary increase, according to standing legislation. As a result, each MP will get at least an extra CA$ 3750.
That scenario hasn’t been welcome to many include some MPs, though it hasn’t been an issue for the Trudeau Government so far. In a release, Aaron Wudrick, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Association, said, “I am sure all parliamentarians would agree that this is the wrong time for politicians to get a salary bump when millions of Canadians are struggling.”
The view was echoed by some Opposition MPs as well. Blaine Calkins, an MP from the province of Alberta, said, in a statement, “This is a legislated pay raise that, given the current state of affairs in our country, is not only untimely but frankly, it’s in poor taste.” Along with colleague Earl Dreeshen, Calkins will donate the net raise to local charities. Huffington Post Canada reported that Opposition leader Andrew Scheer will also donate any increase to a charity “working hard to support Canadians affected by COVID-19.”
It also noted that such an increase has been frozen via legislation in the past. Trudeau’s predecessor Stephen Harper did so for three years between 2010 and 2013. That came the last time a crisis of global magnitude had gripped the nation – the global economic meltdown in that case.