It seems like a lot of money — $14 million.
It’s certainly more than most of us will see in our lifetimes.
But we’re not talking about an individual’s wealth.
We’re talking about how much taxpayers in this province spent last year on our MLAs.
There are 85 of them.
That means we spent about $164,706 per representative, including salary, living allowance and travel costs.
That’s certainly more than most of us will see in any given year.
But we’d argue that it’s certainly reasonable, too.
Think about it: MLAs haul their lives to and from Victoria for a number of years, straining family relationships and personal lives.
Yes, there are perks, but there are also ponderous reports, endless research, speeches, interviews, meetings — and that’s not even including time spent in the constituency to speak with voters about issues.
And, of course, there’s dealing with the obligatory mudslinging from other politicians, issue groups, and the media.
It all goes with the territory, sure, and our MLAs know all this before they put their name on a ballot — but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be compensated for their work.
We’ve all heard about the politicians who aren’t accessible, who are just in it for themselves, or who don’t spend enough time in the capital, or at home. To be sure, they exist.
But let’s be honest, most MLAs work their butts off trying to satisfy an audience that will never be wholly satisfied. It’s a well-paying job that few really want.
To fill it with people who are qualified, and to give them the tools to do it well, it stands to reason we’re going to have to pay.