MLA to donate raise to groups in the riding

  • Jun. 1, 2007 6:00 p.m.

North Coast MLA Gary Coons says he will be donating his pay raise to students, food banks and women’s centres throughout the riding. The government passed the pay raise and pension package May 31 in Victoria, with the NDP voting against it. Mr. Coons said he was hoping the pay raise wouldn’t pass, but now that it has, the NDP MLAs will be donating their extra dollars to organizations they feel have been hurt by Liberal policies. In this riding, Mr. Coons said he will focus on scholarships for students in the eight high schools on the north coast, food banks throughout the region, and women’s centres. His pay raise amounts to an extra $22,000 per year, retroactive to April 1. However, he’s not yet sure how much he can donate because he has to figure out the tax implications. The donation will likely be in the $10,000 to $13,000 range each year, he said. Mr. Coons said as far as he is concerned, his former salary of $76,000 is enough. “A 29 percent increase is not reasonable whatsoever,” he said. “When we get elected in two years and form government, we will revisit the whole pay and pension issue.” While MLAs will be getting an additional $22,000 under the package passed this week, Premier Gordon Campbell will get an extra $89,000. The pay increase was recommended by a panel of three British Columbians but Mr. Coons said they were not representative of the general population.