OTTAWA — Sen. Lucie Moncion hopes she will inspire copycats with a motion proposing the Senate ask the House of Commons to draft legislation to implement a pay freeze for parliamentarians during the coronavirus pandemic.
During a speech in the Senate chamber Thursday, Moncion said the proposal, which she admittedly described one that could be view as “a superficial or even symbolic gesture,” can be quantified as additional money that wouldn’t go into politicians’ pockets.
“Given the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the finances of individuals and the state, the government should take steps to ensure that parliamentarians do not get a pay raise,” the Ontario Independent senator said.
“I did a quick calculation, and if you combine the amounts for the Senate and the House of Commons, we’re talking about $1.7 million a year.”
Watch: Senator proposes pandemic pay freeze for parliamentarians. Story continues below video.
Moncion told HuffPost Canada that she believes there’s a general consensus the gesture is an important one for consideration for all public officer holders in all levels of government.
“With people struggling, I think there needs to be something done, not just at the federal level, but I think everywhere in this country,” she said.
The motion follows the decisions some MPs and senators made earlier this year to donate their automatic 2.1 per cent salary increases in April to charities and organizations mobilizing community COVID-19 responses.
Moncion said she split her spring pay bump into donations to help the food bank, hospice, church in her hometown of North Bay, Ont. among other non-profits.
For senators, she said next year’s pay increase is a little bit over $3,000.
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