Toronto Council makes grandstanding gesture, calls it sacrifice

Kelly Grant with the Globe & Mail:

Members voted 39 to 3 in favour Tuesday of rejecting the automatic 2011 increase to their $99,619 salaries.

“It’s [time to] stand up and be counted. That’s what it boils down to,” said budget chief Mike Del Grande. “We do have structural deficits here at the city and that is never going to be corrected until we make some hard decisions … and they have to start with us first.”

via Toronto city councillors vote to freeze their own wages – The Globe and Mail.

I kind of hoped I’d never have to write about this again. But I actually sent an email to the City Clerk regarding this motion, and then my name ended up in the minutes, so I feel a bit tied to it now.

For the record, here’s the email I sent:

Fiscal responsibility is important, especially in tough economic times. But just as important that government prioritize their time and resources, focusing on things that matter. Symbolic gestures are fine during campaigns, but they have no place in government. The proposed pay freeze does not save any significant amount of money and debating the issue will take time away from focusing on the issues that actually matter to Torontonians.

The current system, that provides small, cost-of-living increases to elected officials on an annual basis, is fair. I ask that council stick with what works, vote down this motion, and move on to the more important business of the day.

Another point, to councillors like Del Grande: It’s disingenuous to conflate a politician voluntarily foregoing a small salary increase with a union member losing their job completely.


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