Islanders pay more per capita than mainlanders for MLAs
By Jonathan Charlton
Islanders pay their MLAs as much as three times more per resident than their neighbours in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
For each province, The Graphic took the total population and divided it by the number of ridings to calculate the average number of people per riding. We then divided an MLA’s base salary by that average to figure out how much each person contributes.
On PEI that amounts to $12.35 per person per year. It doesn’t seem like much but a New Brunswicker pays an average of $6.19 and a Nova Scotian just $4.81.
Island MLAs are the lowest paid of the bunch but there are so many - 27 - for such a small population that the average riding has just 5,402 people compared to 13,736 in New Brunswick and 18,181 in Nova Scotia.
Island NDP leader Mike Redmond said while he’s not convinced about cutting the number of MLAs in the legislature, he has some ideas for trimming fat in other places.
He said MLAs shouldn’t receive extra salary for sitting on committees. As well, he thinks perks like car and meal allowances should also be looked at.
“I think they’re paid well for what they do. To be honest with you I think these extra perks, under the circumstances should be addressed and reformed,” he said.
At the moment, he’s most concerned with the legislature’s $6 million budget being exempt from Access to Information law, as well as a recent CD Howe report finding the province’s health care administration costs are three times the national average.
“It seems we have too much government and too much government expenditure. That’s where we need to start. I would hate for people to lose touch with a minister that represents their community well. There always is time to review and look at the plausibility of scaling down the number of MLAs.”
Province Population Ridings Base MLA salary Avg contribution per person
PEI 145,855 27 $66,700 $12.35
NB 755,455 55 $85,000 $6.19
NS 945,437 52 $87,485.20 $4.81
(The PEI salary is current as of January 1, 2013. The New Brunswick and Nova Scotia
salaries are from 2012.)