The Liberals and Conservatives at Queen’s Park are voting to give themselves a 25% raise today. This would bring the base salary of an MPP to about $110,000.
On one hand, there’s something distasteful about being able to give yourself a raise. Especially when MPPs already make way more than most Ontarians, and the less-than-rich are being squeezed on all sides by things like housing and energy costs.
Yet they still take home 25% less than federal MPs, and they have done some good work with raising the minimum wage since 2003. Bonus points for passing the legislation before an election, instead of waiting until after.
I think the pay hike will probably do more good than harm. In the grand scheme of things, it is a small cost for the government. And it will make provincial politics more attractive to “regular people” – rather than the already-wealthy lawyer/business stereotype who can afford to quit his or her job to run for a position that might go to someone else.
I would be happier if it weren’t such a shockingly huge amount (especially for cabinet ministers and the Premier) and if it didn’t go into effect until the next election, but I can live with these shortcomings. It feels a bit trite to say so, but I think this will be good for the state of democracy in Ontario.