Ontario legislators clash over bill to reduce salaries during pandemic

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TORONTO — Ontario legislators voted Wednesday to reduce a politician’s salary during the pandemic after he introduced a similar motion intended for all members.

Speaker Ted Arnott later ruled that motion out of order, saying pay cuts to legislative members must be done through legislation.

Roman Baber, a former Progressive Conservative who now sits as an independent, accused the government house leader of making light of a situation many Ontarians are struggling with.

But House leader Paul Calandra said he’s concerned about setting the precedent of passing bills without proper debate.

Baber had introduced a bill to reduce members’ salaries to $500 per week – the same amount as the federal aid made available to Canadians who lost work during the first wave of lockdowns last year.

Calandra said he expected the Speaker to toss his motion directed at Baber, and that he had introduced it to make a point.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 17, 2021.

The Canadian Press