Today in symbolism


Gilles Duceppe does the math.

Opposition leaders all said they have no problem freezing their salaries but questioned how that will do anything to tame the record deficit. “I don’t mind freezing my salary … but freezing my salary is not a deficit-reduction plan,” said Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe noted that throne speech also promises to introduce legislation to add 33 seats to the House of Commons – undoing any savings the government hopes to glean from the salary freeze.


Today in symbolism

  1. Ah the size of government, quite literally growing.

    I know we need to keep the representations fair, but isn't it getting about time for a merger of ridings of sorts? I mean, I'm already one of hundred and thirty thousand (or about that) in my riding and my representative seems to do nothing but get his photo taken for 10 percenters and vote along strict party lines at every available opportunity. So, why shouldn't we just cut the number of ridings in half? It's not like my voice is going to get much weaker amongst two hundred and sixty thousand citizens compared to where it is now.

    • If politics was rational that would be what would happen. I think US Congressional representatives have districts in the 500,000 range. However, isn't there some sort of line in the constitution that says a province can't have fewer MPs than Senators that effectively limits our ability to merge ridings in eastern provinces like PEI? I think it's just easier, legally as well as politically, to expand the number of ridings.

      • The US Congress also has a size cap, which is probably stupid on their part.

    • How about this:

      Every Member of Parliament who has an unwavering record of voting with the party shall be let go. Henceforth, for all votes, the party leader will just be counted an extra-time for each dismissed parliamentarian from his/her party.

  2. Ah, the plan for the majority: 33 more seats in Alberta.

    • Actually, it's 33 less seats in Quebec and that works for both the Liberals and the Conservatives since majorities should then be possible without large Quebec representation. That may also cause some re-thinking on voting for the Bloc in Quebec and the return of some Bloc ridings to the two main parties.

      • It's a shame there isn't some way (other than reducing the number of seats in Quebec) that would get the number of Bloc MPs in better alignment with the number of Bloc supporters/voters.

  3. Its a good point Duceppe makes, but one wonders if he would have still been making it if any of those new seats were being added in Quebec.

    • Given that I can't vote for him or any of his party anyway, his motives for making the point are immaterial. It's still a good point.

      • It's only a good point if you support not re-balancing the House of Commons to represent the population shift that has taken place in this country. Otherwise, you'd be spending even more on their salaries without the pay freeze. Following Craig O's comment, perhaps we should ask Duceppe if he'd support both a pay freeze and a two for one riding consolidation nation-wide to save even more money.

        • No. It's a good point regardless. It's not a means to lower the deficit at all. At the very best, it's a means to maintain the deficit. If he wanted to actually fight the deficit on the backs of MPs and government offices, he'd be reducing their salaries, not just freezing them.

          And if he was really interested in fighting them? He'd be cancelling their pensions. They expect Canadians to live off RRSPs and CCP? Then they should do the same. Hell.. it'd even be consistent with his positions before he was ever elected..(which is why we know it won't happen)

          • I'm personally of the opinion that MP's should make no more than the median family/individual salary (depending on their status), of the riding in question. Maybe then they'd stop acting like an elite class.

            Yeah, yeah, yeah, we need to pay to get "good people". How's that working so far folks?

          • Duceppe is basically implying that all the money saved is being wasted on more MPs. It's a ridiculous point unless you think MPs are a total waste of money. And all you're saying is that Harper didn't cut enough. I agree with you but every dollar he saves somewhere is a dollar less he needs to cut or tax (sorry … revenue generate) elsewhere. Harper could implement all the cuts you've cited and the addition of 33 MPs to the House would likely eat away most, if not all, of those savings and allow Duceppe to make the same point. Would it still be a good point, then?

          • Well he could have frozen, reduced or eliminated funding for ten percenters, and the record advertizing budget he's run up. Or how bout agreeing across party lines to just stick to the original intent of TPs?Or perhaps attempt to bring federal parties onside as far as finding ways to reduce the blocks stranglehold on federal politics. Whistling for a wind aren't i?

          • I'd support that too because I think a dollar saved is a dollar earned. I don't see how those who are coming out against freezing MPs salaries as a deficit reduction strategy could support that as a deficit reduction strategy, though. Those moves are probably equivalent in terms of cost savings as these measures.

          • i guess my point is SH's first instinct is too never offer solutions that don't automatically disadvantage his opponents [ ok i know it's minority politics] or more importantly offer solutions/cuts that pehaps equally disadvantage him, but actually are beneficial because they save some precious bucks and help to reduce inter party fiction…discounting the block of course – we can all agree helping them isn't in any of our interests.

  4. True, true, PEI is guaranteed four, same deal for the territories – already overrepresented, would stand to gain even more. And I guess merging ridings across provincial borders is entirely out of the question, even in cases like that, huh?

    • Even though there are the legally mandated exceptions that you note, there really isn't anything stopping the government from stikcing with 308 ridings, or even reducing that number and also adjusting boundaries to even out the numbers in the other, non-mandated ridings. Nothing other than politics, that is.

  5. How about cutting pay for MPs during prorogation? Just a thought here.

    • Why? Wasn't the message from the PMO that MPs were still working during prorogation?

  6. Does anyone know when the MP's salaries were last raised and by how much?

    Seems to me it wasn't that long ago. Harper raise salaries knowing he's going to freeze them not too far down the road?

    Just wondering.

    • You may find this an interesting read:


      The numbers go back to Confederation! The salaries were last frozen by Chrétien, and remained frozen until the books were balanced. The salaries were then adjusted to those of judges, which caused one heck of a raise. I don't know if Harper will freeze judges' salaries though.

      Notice the multiplication over recent years of bonus for what should basically be an MP's job, for examples

      Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole Salary $15,834.00 – added to their salary…

  7. Has Mr. Duceppe never heard of Intensity Targets?

  8. Well, it IS a job creation strategy.

    • So was appointing Tory Senators.

      I wonder how many of the appointments to boards and corporations that are to be axed, will come by allowing former appointments to lapse… while filling just enough slots with well-qualified Tories?

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