Michael questions continued ministerial salary
NDP Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA, Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi) wants to know what the delay has been in following through on a budget announcement which would have seen a cabinet minister lose his extra pay and return to the back benches of government.
“The Finance Minister said at the time that the cabinet change would happen on June 1,” Michael said today. “It is now three and a half months after June 1 and there has been no apparent action. As recently as last Sunday, the minister was laying a wreath on government’s behalf.”
Felix Collins, who had overseen the Justice Department through a year which included Bill 29, was named as minister of the Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs secretariat in October 2012. Five months later, as part of Budget 2013, Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy announced that the minister’s position would be discontinued, and the secretariat’s functions would be absorbed by Executive Council (Intergovernmental Affairs) and Labrador Affairs (Aboriginal Affairs).
A cabinet minister earns $54,072 more than a regular MHA, for a total of $149,429 annually. The salary top-up is the same regardless of the amount of extra work involved in the cabinet position.
“In terms of government’s total financial position, Mr. Collins’s extra cabinet minister salary is not a huge amount,” said Michael, “but it sends a clear message that government acts quickly on some things, but not so quickly on others.
“Twelve hundred public servants also lost their jobs as a result of that budget, and they got their pink slips pretty quickly. What is the hold-up with moving the former justice minister to the back bench?”