Volume 94, Issue 40

Thursday, November 9, 2000


NEWS

Mayoral candidates duke it out at Western

USC discusses stance on student code

Tories in hot water over MPP raise

Campus Briefs

Locust Mount gutted in fire

Hot Air

Operation "Back Rub" nets 36 arrests for LPD

Planet Me

Tories in hot water over MPP raise

By Mike Murphy
Gazette Staff



Does your Member of Provincial Parliament deserve a pay raise?

That question has emerged as a divisive one at Queen's Park this week, after the Progressive Conservatives expressed an intent to hike the salaries of all MPPs.

London West's Tory MPP, Bob Wood, said the push for a pay increase originated with an independent, expert report issued last June that recommended a 33 per cent pay raise.

Currently, the most junior MPP makes about $78,000 a year, while the premier receives about $140,000, confirmed Marilyn Abraham, director of human resources at the office of the legislative assembly.

Wood said he has not yet absolutely decided whether he would support his party's plan for a raise and still has his ears open to constituents. "At this point, I'm just listening to the comments of the general public," he said.

"I think there's a fairly widespread recognition that compensation [of MPPs] has to be fair," he said.

Federal members of parliament now make about $60,000 more than their counterparts in Ontario, Wood said, adding he feels it would only make sense to narrow that gap.

In contrast to Wood's cautious support for the plan, a local Liberal MPP dismissed it outright.

"It's hypocritical to even propose an increase," said Steve Peters, MPP for Elgin-Middlesex-London. Peters cited the environment and social assistance programs as areas in greater need of money than MPP salaries. "In my opinion, there's so many other priorities out there that need money," he said.

Also critical of the proposal was Ryan Parks, executive director of the Ontario Union of Student Associations. "If they're going to go forward on a pay increase for MPPs without increasing funding to education then their priorities are out of wack," he said.

Wood said he thinks it is likely the legislature will soon see a bill articulating the plan, though nothing is yet guaranteed.


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