In the midst of a global pandemic, the Senate of Canada has voted to increase the salaries of senators who chair a committee that has only met twice in 2020. 

According to the CBC, a motion tabled by Sen. Yuen Pau Woo would give an extra $10,100 a year in pay to the chair of the selection committee. Woo is also the chair of the committee and will be receiving the pay himself. 

The extra bonus would be added to the base annual salary of $157,600 Woo earns for serving in the government. 

The deputy chair of the committee, Conservative Sen. Carolyn Stewart Olsen will also be getting an additional $5,200 a year. 

In the selection committees, senators decide on the members who will table other committees in the senate and usually last a little over an hour. 

The motion was passed unanimously by the Senate on March 10 and signed off by the leaders of the Senate’s various parties. 

According to Senate rules, there is no requirement for chairs to receive additional pay for their participation in the committees considering they are “neither a standing committee nor a special committee.”

NPD MP and critic for democratic reform Daniel Blaikie told CBC News that the decision was “tone-deaf” and “wrong.” 

“Only in a place where there’s no accountability could you get away with that. You can do stuff like this and you don’t have to defend it,” said Blaikie.

“A politician that had to face his or her constituents wouldn’t do it because they’d know that people would be upset with them and there’d be consequences. Senators — they’re there until they’re 75 and it doesn’t matter what they do … there’s no real recourse.”​​​​​​

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