A vocal advocacy group for lowering taxes is calling on federal politicians across the country to donate their annual pay raise to charity amid COVID-19.
In response, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer have since promised to do just that, as well as a handful of other elected officials.
Elected MPs, senators and the governor general are set to be receiving their annual pay raises, effective April 1.
“With millions of Canadians out of work during this crisis, that’s completely outrageous,” the Canadian Taxpayers Federation said in a news release on Tuesday (March 31).
Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year.
MPs are entitled to a 2.1 per cent hike, which will increase their base salaries by just over $3,750 to $182,656. Meanwhile, senators are paid roughly $25,000 less than MPs.
The novel coronavirus forced the federal government to suspend sittings in parliament until further notice, which left no chance for a moratorium to be placed on this year’s pay hike.
Instead, at least four MPs – all apart of the Conservative Party of Canada – have since pledged to donate their raises to local charities, including John Brassard and Doug Shipley, who both represent ridings in Barrie, Ont., as well as Earl Dreeshen and Blaine Calkins in Red Deer, Alta.
“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,” Calkins said in a statement on Monday, March 30.
In B.C., South Surrey-White Rock MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay has also said she will be donating her raise amount.
A statement from Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl’s office said he will continue to support numerous charitable causes but wouldn’t directly confirm how he would be handling his raise.
— Paul J. Henderson (@PeeJayAitch) March 31, 2020
The federation says that still leaves 333 members of parliament, 105 senators and Governor General Julie Payette, to pledge similar measures.
Black Press Media has requested comment from the Liberal Party of Canada.
B.C. MLAs suspend pay raise for at least one year
Members of the legislative assembly in B.C. won’t be getting their 1.3 per cent pay raise this week.
Also effective April 1, the pay boost is roughly $2,500 for the year.
The Legislative Management Committee has decided to postpone the salary increase for at least one year, according to the federation.
Kris Sims, director of the federation’s B.C. chapter, applauded the move and said “it would have been wrong for our MLAs to take a pay raise in the middle of this crisis.