(Charlottetown – April 7 2013) Mike Redmond, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Prince Edward Island, is indicating that last week’s impasse over MLA salary increases does not satisfy the concerns of Islanders and as a result, constructive ideas such as performance measurement criteria have to be put on the table.
“Islanders witnessed the Government and the Opposition bat the problem of MLA salary increases around in a very traditional and unproductive way of doing politics. No real attempt was made to compromise on a solution,” Redmond said.
On Wednesday of last week it was reported that Premier Ghiz was moving towards scrapping the Indemnities and Allowances Commission, and tying future MLA pay increases to the average civil servant pay increases. UPSE indicated concerns over potential conflict of interest resulting from the action. On Thursday an Official Opposition motion on the short term issue of current raises was criticized and defeated by the Liberal government. Also on Thursday the Premier withdrew his earlier proposal.
“The status quo is just not good enough here. We have seen two raises – 2% on January 1st and then 1% more on April 1st – and that is not sitting well with Islanders now paying the HST while facing an unemployment rate over 12%, and dealing with tough EI changes and low social assistance payments,” Redmond said.
On Friday it was reported that the Premier had merely floated his idea and was open if somebody had a better solution. “I am taking the Premier on his word and offering possible solutions,” continued Redmond. “We should look at ways to link MLA salaries to performance of the Legislature such as progress on budget targets, action on Auditor General Reports, and other measures.”
The NDP PEI is crafting a proposal that would use measures such as reducing the debt to GDP ratio, advancing environmental sustainability and public health objectives, and achieving results on a quality of life framework such as the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI). The NDP proposal would remove both MLAs and appointed commissioners from determining MLA salary increases and empower the Office of the Auditor General to determine increases (or decreases) based on objective criteria in its annual report.
“The NDP will work on this proposal in the platform development process as the election approaches whether the Liberals or Conservatives show any interest in the idea or not. If there is the will we could probably see something productive in place well before this time next year. For now, both sides should move this week to roll back their salaries to the rate of pay before New Year’s Day. That one is completely obvious; any Islander could tell them that if they only asked,” concluded the NDP Leader.
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NDP PEI Leader