Just four months into its term, New Brunswick’s Liberal Government has stated that all of its dozen cabinet ministers will receive pay cuts in their annual salaries.
“The salary portion, there will be no increases under my watch,” Gallant said at a press conference last week. “I certainly won’t let it pass through the legislature. When it comes to other things, I will certainly listen to the recommendations, but it will always be with the scope that we face real financial challenges.”
New Brunswick’s deficit sits at 377.2 million dollars, something Premier Briant Gallant stressed needed fixing during his campaign in the fall. A 15 per cent cut will apply to ministerial and premier salaries, not the $85,000 base pay they all receive for serving as MLAs. The total savings amount to less than $100,000.
When it comes to the big picture, Fredericton City Councilor Greg Ericson says the pay cuts are relatively small.
Ericson attended one of many strategic review meetings held around the province. The meetings were a way for politicians to get answers from local MLAs in terms of their economic situations. Questions like “What would a thriving, ideal New Brunswick look like in ten years? How could we make it thrive?”
Ericson says these meetings are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of increasing New Brunswick’s economic stability.
The pay cut may serve more as a symbolic morale booster. The Liberal party’s initiative is not only about numbers, it’s also a situation of getting the community engaged.
Gallant said the pay cuts are “leading by example.”
UNB education student Kalib Demerchant says he’s open to all political views and believes as long as a party’s ideals are grounded, it doesn’t matter who represents it.
“If you want to be a politician you should do it because you want to better the society that we’re in and not do it for money.”
The pay cuts, however, are something the future teacher is wary of.
“I don’t think he needs a pay at all. If he wants to be premier he should just be Premier. It sends a weird message. It’s saying we’re not about business but we are about business at the same time. So I think it’s kind of a vote grabbing thing.”