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British Columbia MLAs will no longer get raises after significant backlash

Ravi Kahlon,speaks at a restaurant in Delta, B.C., on Wednesday, September 15, 2021. British Columbia says it has launched four housing and infrastructure projects using mass timber. The minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation told a news conference Thursday that the University of Victoria has been given $1.2 million in funding toward a 783-bed housing and dining facility set to open in September. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck. DD

The 87 members of B.C.’s legislature will not be receiving raises pegged to inflation next year after significant public blowback.

New government house leader Ravi Kahlon told members of the Legislative Assembly Management Committee on Tuesday the government supports freezing MLA wages for the 2023/24 fiscal year.

The elected officials were set to receive an inflationary raise between six per cent and 10 per cent as prescribed in the current contract agreement.

“We believe LAMC should not administer the pay increase for the coming year. We want to make sure everyone on the committee is aware and are happy to have the vote in the new year,” Kahlon said in the meeting on Tuesday.

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The BC Liberals have been pressing the BC NDP to speak out publicly against the raises, even introducing a private members bill that was not voted upon in the legislature.

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BC Liberal house leader Todd Stone said giving raises to MLAs would be tone-deaf amid the surging cost of living, and led the charge against increasing the paychecks for himself and his colleagues.

Since 2000, the rate of wage increase for MLAs has been set at the rate of inflation. This has averaged about two per cent a year but global economic pressures have seen inflation and the cost of living increase rapidly in the past year.

“The official opposition is thrilled the government has come around and made this decision embracing what the official opposition has been calling for for months,” Stone said.

“I know all the members have been hearing the same thing we have. The thousands of emails saying this is not the time for an MLA raise.”

The average wage for an MLA is $115,000, with an ability to make more money based on cabinet positions, committee work or responsibilities inside a caucus or the legislature.

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