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A fool and their money ...

In some cases, Canada's MPs get paid for the work of five people

As of April 1, the average gross salary of a working-age person in the Lakeland region is $41,600 a year.

After a four per cent pay raise on April 1, Lakeland MP Shannon Stubbs is making about $203,000 a year.

According to Stats Canada’s most recent data, 50 per cent of wage-earners in the Lakeland today make between $10,000 and $50,000 after taxes — with most netting between $20,000 to $30,000.  Just four percent of the Lakeland population nets more than $125,000 a year — Stubbs, the region’s national representative, is one of them.

In fact, according to those Stats Can numbers, the two-term elected official is one of just 2,500 wage earners — and one of only 400 women —  in her riding receiving a paycheck more than $125,000.

The neighbouring region — and its elected federal representative — share a similar pay-packet paradox.

An average gross wage in the Fort McMurray-Cold Lake riding sit at around $61,000. Even before the April 1 annual wage bump, MP Laila Goodridge’s $194,600 salary was still  three-times higher than her average constituent. While the riding has higher individual incomes, with more than 12,000 wage-earners netting $125,000 a year or more, the question remains … is this worthwhile representation?

This isn’t to say these people aren’t all doing a good job. Many of our elected officials are working tirelessly ‑ just like their constituents, like the nurses, grocery clerks, librarians or truck drivers they represent. 

The issue is about how representative their pay-cheques are.

And it’s a nationwide issue. In Quebec's Sherbrooke riding, Liberal MP Elisabeth Briere had the standard MP base salary prior to the anticipated April 1 wage hike of $194,600. She was re-elected to her second term representing the riding in 2021. She won with just 22,000 votes from an eligible voter roster of 90,000. Her pay  is five times more than the $38,500 annual income of an average Sherbrooke constituent. Sherbrooke, according to Statistics Canada, is in the bottom 10 of the 338 federal ridings when it comes to individual annual earnings … of non-politicians.

From coast-to-coast, the annual salary-only budget (not including travel and “hospitality”) this year for Canada’s 335 sitting federal MPs is $67.5 million.

So, are these representatives ‘actually’ representative anywhere? (That was going to be a rhetorical question – but another dig into the Stats Can numbers actually produced an answer – and surprise, not really … that answer is no.)

Canada’s most wealthy riding has a  top per household average income of just under $160,000 — that is  still less pay than the riding's one federal representative. Which riding? Which MP? The same one already mentioned – Goodridge’s Fort McMurray-Cold Lake. And thanks to that pay rise on April 1 — the same day, coincidentally that Official Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre was making headlines in BC at an 'Ax the Tax' rally for poor Canadians battling inflation, taxation and frustration — that frustration between the constituents and the ones who are supposed to be representing them will be even greater.

Ironically, the only thing that is a true representation of the issue is the April Fool's date selected by the government for the pay-rise vote. 






Rob McKinley

About the Author: Rob McKinley

Rob has been in the media, marketing and promotion business for 30 years, working in the public sector, as well as media outlets in major metropolitan markets, smaller rural communities and Indigenous-focused settings.
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