Last week a small uproar was caused when information came to light that MLA’s were being payed a (fairly substantial by my measure) stipend to sit on a committee that hasn’t met in three years.
This has certainty not helped the PC machine in it’s attempts to look accountable and hard working, but Redford has recently come out and halted all committee payments for MLAs in an attempt to limit damage done.
“Redford is suspending committee pay for all government members serving on government committees and ordering Tories to refuse pay for sitting on all-party legislature committees.”
I hold what I believe to be a rather unpopular opinion on the matter.
Committee work deserves to be paid. It was poor management that led to the Standing Committee on Privileges, Elections, Standing Orders and Printing to be “active” while being completely inactive. I have very little insight into the reason for this committee’s inception, but clearly the committee is either completely unnecessary hence the lack of meetings in three years, or maybe the committee’s mandate needs a refresher – it does seem to be lacking in detail. Quite possibly, maybe the member’s should be utilizing this committee.
“The Privileges and Elections, Standing Orders and Printing Committee meets when the House has referred a matter for consideration.”
This has people rightly upset and calling for a suspension of all committee payments, but it is my opinion that work done deserves payment. There are many hard working MLAs who sit on (very) active committees. Aside from their time dealing with the affairs of the legislative agenda, meeting with constituents and interest groups, as well as the stress of being on the job 24 hours a day – they must also deal with meeting with and working for various committees. I have sat on many many committees in my time as an elected student executive, and while some maybe be the ruin of a weekend they all meant something to a larger picture of planning and collaboration. They all deserved to be taken seriously, and not as a free pay cheque. (That being said, I didn’t get paid to sit on any committees …)
I also believe in treating politicians like professionals. If we as a province want qualified, passionate civil servants then we as a province need to ensure those four years are spent with full dedication. Part of that is paying them a competitive salary. Just like in any business scenario. If citizens are unhappy with performance, then do not re-elect that MLA. It is really that simple. If we took half of the interest in the regular affairs of those whose salaries we contribute to as we did in each salacious detail leaked by opposing parties, than maybe as citizens we would be better engaged and better equipped to understand the complexity of being a political representative.
Imagine if everyone suddenly worked on salary BUT got no sick days, no vacation, no over time recognition, and was constantly harassed by press and unfounded accusations from opponents.
I just think that good politicians deserve credit, monetarily or other, and inactive, ineffective political representatives deserve to be cast aside by the population they took for granted.