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Not one

What's the chance that Canada's MPs will freeze their wages in Budget 2024?
ROb opinion 2000-1333

Not one.

Two weeks ago, Lakeland This Week editorial staff sent 14 random Members of Parliament a media request, asking for them to justify the recent pay hike to all of Canada’s 335 sitting federal politicians.

The requests for comments were sent by email to the offices of elected federal representatives of all parties from across Canada including Conservative and NDP leaders Pierre Poilievre and Jagmeet Singh, Lakeland MP Shannon Stubbs, St. Albert MP Mike Cooper, BQ member Alain Therrien and Liberal MP Jenica Atwin from New Brunswick. All 14 were asked for their thoughts on the annual wage increase for elected members of Parliament that was recently approved.

In the two weeks since the media requests were sent to each of their offices, how many have answered the question?

Not one.

That’s not to say Canada’s MPs have been totally silent since accepting their pay increases on April 1. On the same day Poilievre was getting a $13,000 boost to make his salary $300,000 a year, he was in British Columbia, headlining a rally to ‘ax’ the Liberal government’s carbon tax, saying it is unfair and un-democratic to inflict more harm to Canadians already battling tough times and challenging economies.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose $17,000 salary bump put his annual wage at $400,000 has also been in the headlines since his taxpayer-funded raise, defending the carbon tax, hinting at more tax increases, and unveiling a plan to attack the nation’s housing crisis — because you know, many Canadians can’t afford basic shelter.

Like many Canadians working to find ways to navigate these challenging times, the country’s elected representatives can be very busy people too. Half of the MPs who were sent a request for comment issued an automatic response to the email, saying they would respond when and if available. MP Stubbs’ office did send a personalized follow-up on April 5, informing Lakeland This Week that the Lakeland MP was not in the office and would likely look over the request at a review slot next week.”

Likely busy, she has yet to respond.

At the Parliament office of Michael Cooper, staff said the St. Albert MP was too busy for any meeting. Not even one.

Thank you for your request to interview MP Michael Cooper on this matter. Unfortunately, MP Cooper is unable to have an interview at this time due to a busy schedule,” said the first response, followed by a second when asked by Lakeland This Week if a better time could be found for an interview with the elected representative … “Unfortunately, MP Michael Cooper is unable to commit to any meetings in the coming weeks.”

Well, that’s a shame. But still, you’d think that answering questions would be part of the job he’s paid to do as a representative of the people — especially when he and the others just got a raise for apparently doing the job so well.

From the auto-attendant replies, the delayed responses and even the elected officials who didn’t respond at all — not one — it could simply be the timing of the request. Perhaps they were busy working on the federal budget that is slated to be released this week. Monitoring the purse strings, keeping the nation’s residents safe and secure is a busy task, afterall.

As Canadians continue to tighten their belts, some having to make choices between food or shelter, healthcare or rent, perhaps the MPs who are supposed to represent all Canadians will also show some austerity in this budget and include a wage reduction or freeze on their annual salaries.

 But Canadians already know the chances of that happening; not one.


This question …

Can you please justify to constituents the most recent increase to MP salaries?

… was sent to these elected representatives:

Jagmeet Singh

Pierre Poilievre

Kristina Michaud

Alain Therrien

Cathay Wagantall

John Barlow

Rachel Bendayan

Jenica Atwin

Mike Morrice

Kevin Vuong

Shannon Stubbs

Matthew Green

Rachel Blakey

Michael Cooper




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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