I feel like I’m writing about a topic where everything has been said: the 30% pay rise that our MPs voted for in June. But it’s too big. It has become an important political fact. I will no longer speak of a mistake but of a catastrophe.
First I put my positions on the table. I was not at all opposed to a salary adjustment for elected officials. In the hierarchy of all government salaries, including Crown corporations, MPs’ salaries were no longer up to par.
For 10 years, this issue had dragged on and a report had been submitted, there was reason to act. Knowing the demanding nature of his work and the sacrifices that come with it, I’m not going to say that the new salary is not deserved.
So badly done
However, the way it was done will go down in history as a political mistake with costly consequences. I regret four mistakes that make this decision a political burden:
- Touch the salary only without doing the exercise of reviewing all the remuneration conditions. (Indeed, last month, they scrapped a gratuity for attending parliamentary committees, noting that it had become indecent with the pay rise.)
- Raise wages at the same time. A gradual recovery, part of which would have come into effect only after the next election, would have been more acceptable.
- They vote their own improvements themselves without relying on an external competent authority. (10 years earlier, the Assembly had given a mandate to a former Supreme Court judge.)
- Give 30% a few weeks before a negotiation where the same government offers state employees three times less.
A few months later, the damaging consequences are measurable on the ground.
- Listen to Francis Gosselin’s editorial on Mario Dumont’s microphone via Radio QUB :
First, the government provided a nuclear weapon to public sector unions. A weapon to mobilize its members, to justify big demands and to get public support. The 30% is one of the reasons that explains the very bad position in which François Legault is in this negotiation.
Coming off a week of several strikes, how many times have we heard, “They voted for a 30% increase!”? And we read it on the protesters’ posters.
The Legault government must also realize that it is the only one to blame. Although the Liberals supported the increase, I have never heard anyone blame the PLQ. It is the CAQ, for the most part, that usually bears all the public opprobrium.
The price paid by the CAQ as a political party is enormous. The tone in which people talk about this government has changed. It was a party of people of good faith who did their best under difficult circumstances. They forgave them for small mistakes.
This beautiful image has disappeared. Many people have lost their natural sympathy for François Legault and the CAQ. And now 30% is what they have left in the polls.