Postpone MNA salary increases until 2026, say Quebec solidaire and PQ
Published Wednesday, May 24, 2023 8:57AM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, May 24, 2023 12:13PM EDT
QUEBEC -- Québec Solidaire (QS) wants the salary increase for MNAs to come into effect only in 2026, after the next election.
The party is reaching out to other political parties to support its amendment to the bill. The request was made in a letter from QS House Leader Alexandre Leduc.
"If it's true that the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) is doing this to be able to attract the best talent, let it be consistent and let this increase not apply immediately. Let it only apply from the next legislature in 2026," he explained in a press briefing Wednesday morning.
"No one is fighting for an increase in MNAs' salaries," added Leduc, referencing Premier François Legault's statement on voting reform.
Should the bill pass, QS MNAs do not intend to line their own pockets with the increase.
"At QS, all MNAs already donate to all sorts of organizations in their ridings. So we will substantially increase the donations we will make in the coming months from the increase that will be adopted or not," said Leduc.
In the same breath, Leduc said that his political party still wants the government to give up on raising MNAs' salaries.
PQ IN FAVOUR OF THE AMENDMENT
The Parti Québécois (PQ) says it is in favour of the QS amendment.
"The idea that it could apply to the next legislature is very interesting, because it is not retroactive and it is not the current members who vote. It's an idea that I had already mentioned before QS," explained PQ MNA Pascal Bérubé.
According to Bérubé, the purpose of this increase is to ensure the "cohesion of the caucus" of the CAQ.
PQ MNAs are still waffling on whether they will support the CAQ's bill. They are expected to announce their decision later Wednesday.
The Liberals (PLQ), for their part, remained more circumspect about the QS proposal.
"I will study the amendment as a team with our caucus and, in due course," said Liberal House Leader Monsef Derraji.
The PLQ has already said it supports the bill.
On Tuesday, Legault defended the measure, saying it was a necessary "catch-up" and that his government was showing "courage."
"A father, a young father or a mother has the right to go and earn as much money as possible to give as much as possible to his children. That's how I see life," he said during the question period.
Under the bill tabled on May 11 by Government House Leader Simon Jolin-Barrette, the base salary of elected officials would increase from $101,561 to $131,766. MNAs with additional duties (ministers, leaders, opposition leaders) will receive an even larger increase.
The CAQ wants to pass the MNA salary increase before the end of the parliamentary session on June 9. To achieve that Legault has not ruled out invoking closure.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on May 24, 2023.