Saying "No" To Mpps' Pay Hike "The Right Thing To Do": Premier
New Bill Would, If Passed, Freeze MPPs’ Pay Until April 2005
QUEEN'S PARK -- Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is saying "no" to a proposed pay hike for MPPs.
"In today's fiscal context, saying 'no' to a pay hike for MPPs is simply the right thing to do," Premier McGuinty told the Legislature today.
Saying members of the Legislature need to lead by example, the Premier introduced legislation that would, if passed, freeze MPPs' pay until April 2005.
"As I have said in the past, we must all temper our requests of the public purse -- and the hard-working Ontarians who finance that purse," Premier McGuinty said.
The government has inherited a deficit of $5.6 billion, plus additional risks of $2.2 billion for things such as hospital and children's aid society deficits.
"We did not create this context. Still, it is in this context that we must govern our province. And it is in this context that we must govern ourselves," Premier McGuinty said.
The province's Integrity Commissioner recently filed a report that would have provided MPPs with a pay raise of 2.7 per cent.
"We appreciate the Commissioner's work on this matter, but at this time, in this context, we have a responsibility as legislators," Premier McGuinty said.
Premier McGuinty said the bill should not be misinterpreted as a signal that the government plans to legislate wage settlements for its partners in the broad public sector.
"We respect the collective bargaining process," Premier McGuinty said. "This bill is our way, as legislators, of recognizing the fiscal reality facing our province."
"We believe it is a privilege and high honour to serve the people of Ontario in this House. But with that privilege and honour comes an obligation to lead -- and to lead by example."
Premier McGuinty urged opposition MPPs to join government members in supporting the bill.