The vast majority of Members of Parliament were unresponsive when asked whether or not they would support a salary reduction for politicians until the economy is fully reopened.
At the height of the pandemic, True North Initiative put out a petition calling for MPs to take a salary reduction while many Canadians are forced to adhere to government-imposed lockdowns. The petition has since been signed by over 20,000 Canadians.
“Shutting down restaurants, gyms and other businesses takes aim at working-aged Canadians and ignores everything we have learned about COVID-19 in the last few months,” reads the petition.
“If politicians continue to insist on more lockdown measures, they should also feel the economic impact of their decisions. We’re calling on all Canadian politicians to take a pay cut until they fully reopen the economy. It’s only fair.”
True North reached out to all 338 members of parliament to ask whether they would individually support a cut to their pay in support of the many Canadians who continue to struggle to make ends meet. Only two elected officials responded to our request for comment.
“This question really needs to be answered by the Trudeau Liberals. Canada’s Conservatives are, and will remain, focused on ensuring Canada’s recovery and securing the future,” said Conservative MP and Chief Opposition Whip Blake Richards.
Several requests for comment from NDP MP Peter Julian went unanswered despite attempts to arrange a phone interview through his office.
Meanwhile, Liberal MP Wayne Easter responded by saying that he would “not at all” support a pay reduction for politicians.
“In fact in my experience most politicians and their staffs have worked even longer and tougher hours during the pandemic to put together new programs in record time and support constituents with their issues and questions. I’ve been averaging about 11-12 hours days for a full year now, and often am in the office or on Zooms till near midnight,” Easter told True North.
“I also believe in life you get what you pay for. If we’re going to be cheap with our politicians and government, we’re going to get crappy politicians and governments. Something as important as our democracy shouldn’t be short-changed.”
Easter also pointed out that if all MPs took a $20,000 pay cut, the nearly $7 million saved would be “nothing other than virtue signaling” since it would total only 87 cents per Canadians if individually broken up among the population.
Earlier this month, all MPs received an annual pay bump to their salaries totaling a 1.8% increase.
In 2021, MPs received a salary of $182,000 while cabinet ministers got $269,800. As for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his pay increased by around $6,400 to a total of $365,200 a year.