This is page numbers 5453 - 5490 of the Hansard for the 18th Assembly, 3rd Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was assembly.

Topics

Committee Motion 129-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Calculation of Members' Salaries, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5468

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Mr. Chair, I am not in support of this motion. Years ago, the annual adjustments to the MLA salaries were tied to the negotiated increases for our unionized employees. This created the perception of a conflict of interest. Under our current system, MLA compensation for an incoming Assembly is established by the outgoing one and based on the recommendations of an independent commission. Following that, these amounts are adjusted annually to keep pace with inflation. The decision to disentangle MLA compensation adjustments from those provided to the Union of Northern Workers has been to the detriment of MLAs over the years. I have no difficulty with this. However, this recommendation re-establishes a link with the UNW increases that I feel is inappropriate. It will ensure that, over time, MLA compensation will fail to keep pace with inflation and will fall further behind the positions of similar responsibility in the public service. The existing system is transparent, fair, and independent. Mr. Chair, I will not be supporting this motion, and I request a recorded vote.

Committee Motion 129-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Calculation of Members' Salaries, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5468

The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Ms. Green. To the motion? Minister Cochrane.

Committee Motion 129-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Calculation of Members' Salaries, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5468

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I, as well, will not be supporting this motion. As I have said previously and many times, society is based on how we treat our most marginalized populations. It would be very hypocritical of me to look at any type of increase, no matter what, until society is treating those who struggle to provide food on their table with a decent level of care. I cannot, in all honesty, ethically support this motion. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 129-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Calculation of Members' Salaries, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5468

The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister Cochrane. To the motion? Mr. O'Reilly.

Committee Motion 129-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Calculation of Members' Salaries, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5468

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Mr. Chair. I will not be supporting the recommendation from the commission which is the subject of this motion. It basically says that we should be taking the lesser of the cost-of-living increase or what the UNW negotiates, tying our compensation to what's negotiated with our workers. I don't think that's a good way to proceed. It creates an apprehension of bias, and I just don't think that's a good thing to do. The simpler way to do this is leave it as it is where it's automatically increased by the consumer price index. I think that is the best way to do this. I want to leave it that way. I will be voting against this recommendation from the commission and the motion. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 129-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Calculation of Members' Salaries, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5468

The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Mr. O'Reilly. To the motion.

Committee Motion 129-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Calculation of Members' Salaries, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5468

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Committee Motion 129-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Calculation of Members' Salaries, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5468

The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

Question has been called. The Member has requested a recorded vote. All those in favour, please rise.

Recorded Vote
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

March 14th, 2019

Page 5468

Deputy Clerk Of The House Mr. Ball

The Member for Great Slave.

Recorded Vote
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5468

The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

All those opposed, please rise.

Recorded Vote
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5468

Deputy Clerk Of The House Mr. Ball

The Member for Yellowknife Centre, the Member for Deh Cho, the Member for Nunakput, the Member for Range Lake, the Member for Sahtu, the Member for Yellowknife North, the Member for Kam Lake, the Member for Nahendeh, the Member for Frame Lake.

Recorded Vote
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5468

The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you. All those abstaining, please rise.

Recorded Vote
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5468

Deputy Clerk Of The House Mr. Ball

The Member for Inuvik Boot Lake, the Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes, the Member for Hay River South, the Member for Thebacha.

Recorded Vote
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5468

The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

The results of the recorded vote: one in favour, nine opposed, four abstentions. The motion is defeated.

---Defeated

Ms. Green.

Recorded Vote
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5469

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Mr. Chair, I wish to thank the 2018 Independent Commission to Review Members' Compensation and Benefits for their important work and for their considered recommendations. As with previous recommendations, we have accepted some and rejected others. This process of reviewing MLA compensation by an independent commission is consistent with the practice of other Canadian jurisdictions and the process for setting judicial compensation in the NWT. It works. Contrary to recent media reports, MLAs have not voted themselves an increase in compensation above inflation for nearly two decades, despite at least one recommendation to do so from an independent commission in the 15th Assembly.

Mr. Chair, no one in this room entered politics for the money. Many around this room left higher-paying jobs in the private sector, public sector, or with Indigenous governments to seek elected office in this institution. The compensation system for MLAs needs to be fair, open, and transparent. It also needs to be effective. MLA compensation needs to be adequate to draw talented people away from their private employment yet not so low that only the rich can afford to seek office. I think we have struck a reasonable balance, Mr. Chair. Those are all of my comments.