According to data provided by Queen’s Park, Ontario Members of the Provincial Legislature draw an annual salary of just over $116,000.
At $116,000; our legislature representatives are drawing incomes that are roughly twice the “average” of Ontario workers. (Workopolis reports Ontario average annual income of $50,589).
Somehow, mortgages get paid, groceries get purchased and children are attending colleges and universities.
The “average Joe or Jane” works twelve months per year and is given somewhere between two and four weeks of paid vacation annually. Our elected Members of the Ontario Legislature’s work year is considerably shorter. The “Legislature’s Calendar” shows that our MPP’s enjoy a five week “break” in the spring; a prolonged 13 week shut down during the summer and yet another 2 weeks during the Christmas period. Do the math: they are off work 20 weeks per year! (thus they are “working” less than 60% of the period expected from “regular Joe’s and Janes”.
The devil (sometimes) is in the details
Ontario Liberal “Caucus” Retreat November 17 through November 19, 2016
The Liberal got together in Ottawa in mid November (2016) for a “caucus meeting. They apparently enjoyed the hospitality and the joy of each other’s company so much that they then hung around Ottawa and joined in the (Liberal) Party’s Annual General Meeting which also (coincidentally) happened in Ottawa at exactly the same time. (what a coincidence!)
We availed ourselves of financial disclosures made by local MPP, Vic Dhillon (Brampton West) and noticed several questionable items. The expense report details became available by way of the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act.
Dhillon was reimbursed $1,430.06 for his attendance at the caucus retreat. He claimed $585.00 for transportation; $808.88 for “accommodation” and another $36.18 for “meals”. Frankly, Dhillon’s numbers vary noticeably from expense reports turned in by some of his Liberal colleagues attending the same event.
Transport Minister Steve Del Duca managed to travel from Toronto to Ottawa for $266.00. Amazingly, Deb Matthews (from London Ontario) managed to get to Ottawa for $287.16 and Liz Sandals (from Toronto) managed the Ottawa trip for #330.49. If the legislative budget officer were sharpe, he/she would be asking Vic Dhillon to explain how it is that he claimed so much travel expense for the Ottawa junket.
Similarly, Dhillon’s accommodation claim (apparently for a hotel room) was considerably higher that (even) more senior MPPs such as Transport Minister Del Duca who managed to hunker down for $273.52 while Minister Deb Matthews found accommodations for $358.48 and Ontario treasurer Sousa got by in a $273.52 hotel room. At $808.88; Mr. Dhillon had apparently discovered Ottawa’s own version of the Taj Mahal.
Someone in Queen’s Park would do well to ask Mr. Dhillon to produce receipts and provide some explanation concerning not only his Ottawa junket but (also) his monthly commuting costs from his home in Brampton to Queen’s Park. Using similar reports from a number of his area colleagues, there is cause for concern.
Seniors residing in Brampton and those on fixed and low incomes do not have the luxury to hand in expense reports to pay for rising hydro bills and escalating grocery costs impacted by carbon tax and a myriad of other tax grabs.
Less than five years ago, a Conservative Minister (Bev Oda), then the Minister of International Aid) was forced to step down as the consequence of her spending $16 for a glass of orange juice in a London (UK) hotel. She was forced to resign over a $16 misuse of taxpayers’ money. The Dhillon affair is nearly 100 times larger. It’s time that the Liberal-biased media began reporting fairly.
In the big picture of things, I suppose that Dhillon’s $1400 Ottawa junket and his monthly commuting costs to Queen’s Park are trivial. But,,,what’s up?
Follow Lloyd’s articles on Twitter @LloydFournier1
Copyright Thunderbird Rising 2017
The above article is copyrighted. You may use, copy or distribute this article conditional on attributing your source (Thunderbird Rising) and the author (Lloyd Fournier)