New Democrat Party leader Jagmeet Singh with Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns and North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney. Photo supplied

Comox Valley MPs donating annual raise

Annual incremental hikes have been practice in Parliament since 2005

Members of Parliament for the Comox Valley have confirmed they are donating the portion of a recent pay hike to help out people in need locally during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) released a list of MPs who were giving the pay raise as of April 1 to charity. The list has been circulating on social media. At the end of March, the organization called on MPs to donate their annual pay raise back.

This month, MPs received a 2.1 per cent hike, which increased based salaries to $182,656. The annual hike has been practice since Bill C-30, which as adopted 15 years ago to set annual salary and allowance increases.

RELATED STORY: Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

To cancel the raise, Parliament would need to be recalled, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that he is not recalling it before April 20 in order to help fight the spread of the novel coronavirus. In response, many federal politicians have offered to donate the increase. (Trudeau is on the list of those donating the raise.)

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns is included on the list. He posted a statement on his Facebook page on March 31: “I was pleased to donate my Member of Parliament cost-of-living increase to local organizations and agencies that are providing front line services to vulnerable citizens throughout our riding.”

North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney was not mentioned on the list. A spokesperson from Blaney’s office told the Record that she has stepped up donations beyond her regular level, including contributions to food banks throughout her riding, in order to at least equal the amount of the pay increase.

Both of the NDP MPs have raised issues on their social media platforms and websites calling for emergency relief for many Canadians in the form of a universal basic income, details on emergency response benefits for small businesses, non-profits, charities and their workers, wage subsidy programs and other aspects of the pandemic.

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