SCOOP: MPPs hike staff salary cap by 50%
And Game Day rituals for politicians
ABOVE THE FOLD
First in Observer — HIT THE CEILING — MPP staffers can now earn up to $90,000 annually, up from roughly $60,000.
No cap (not literally): The 50-per-cent raise was a long time coming — the previous salary cap was stagnant for years. The new $90,000 threshold was OK’ed by the Board of Internal Economy — which I’ve been parsing — and came into force April 1.
Who’s covered: All MPPs’ staff employed and bankrolled by the Assembly, including folks who work in constituency and legislative offices. Who’s not: Ministerial staffers.
Bonus: Staff can also pocket a “merit award” on top of their regular pay, but the total can’t exceed $90,000.
Catch up: Inflation is taking its toll, including at Queen’s Park. With that in mind, the BOIE — comprised of PC PAUL CALANDRA and NDPer JOHN VANTHOF — recently moved to double MPP cash allowances for hospitality services and sole-sourced contracts. Get the scoop.
HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA — We already know what DOUG FORD is doing tonight: cheering along with Leafs Nation as they face off with Tampa Bay. So I asked politicians across the aisle for their Game Day advice, rituals and predictions.
NEIL LUMSDEN, Sport Minister, former pro CFLer and four time Grey Cup champion: “Advice? Yeah — just win. That’s the coach’s speech.”
“Listen, Tampa’s a really good hockey team. It doesn’t take much, one way or the other, to either grasp victory away from someone, or blow it. It’s a delicate balance. But those that thrive under those kinds of pressures — they go far.”
Game Day ritual: “I’ll be watching, and I’d be lying if I didn’t always go, ‘Come on! Aw! Don’t do that!’”
Care to make a score prediction? “Oh my gosh. No. [Laughs.] Do I expect them to win? Yeah, you bet I do.”
Fun fact: Lumsden’s brother-in-law was on the Leafs roster and made it to the playoffs back in the HAROLD BALLARD days.
YASIR NAQVI, Liberal leadership contender and MP for Ottawa Centre: “I’m team Ontario but my beloved Sens are always first for me.”
Game Day snack: Dulce de leche ice cream, his favourite.
MARIT STILES, NDP captain: “When it comes to playoff hockey, I usually do what a Toronto fan does best — pace around anxiously.”
Game Day plan: “I’ll be on the road and hoping for good news when I catch the last period — I’ve got a good feeling that this will be our year.”
MIKE SCHREINER, Green Leader: “No more overtime heart-stoppers — let’s just win. Go Leafs go!”
🎉 MILESTONE ALERT! I am beyond happy to share that Queen’s Park Observer has a new office: Room 476! Stay tuned for the ribbon-cutting party. Come for the snacks, stay for the hot goss. All MPPs, staff and anonymous tipsters are welcome anytime.
UPDATE — DOUG FORD’S THURSDAY — 1:30 p.m.: Could it be a victory lap announcement? The Premier and Solicitor General MICHAEL KERZNER are back at the podium to make an announcement in Scarborough.
8:30 a.m.: Environment Minister DAVID PICCINI is in Kakabeka Falls for an announcement alongside local MPP KEVIN HOLLAND (Thunder Bay—Atikokan).
9 a.m.: An all-jurisdiction transit announcement in Toronto, featuring Transportation Minister CAROLINE MULRONEY, federal Trade Minister MARY NG, deputy Toronto mayor JENNIFER McKELVIE and Markham Mayor FRANK SCARPITTI.
9:30 a.m.: Back at Queen’s Park, NDPers are in the Media Studio to tease their forthcoming backbench bill that would “hold fossil fuel producers liable for environmental damage.” Featuring: PETER TABUNS, SANDY SHAW, DOLY BEGUM, and JESSICA BELL.
10 a.m.: Liberal JOHN FRASER follows, to reintroduce his PMB to bring in 10 paid sick days for workers.
1:30 p.m.: Infrastructure Minister KINGA SURMA is in Thunder Bay for an announcement. Also on hand: Housing Minister STEVE CLARK, Agriculture Minister LISA THOMPSON and MPP Holland.
FUNDRAISING WATCH — A hat trick of PC fundraisers tonight: MONTE McNAUGHTON and LORNE COE are headlining a $500-a-ticket event in Whitby, STEVE CLARK, KINGA SURMA, GREG RICKFORD, LISA THOMPSON and KEVIN HOLLAND are hosting another $500-event in Thunder Bay, and EFFIE TRIANTAFILOPOULOS is charging a $120 a head in Burlington.
OCC KICK-OFF — The Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s two-day annual general meeting goes down in Niagara Falls. Keynotes include Red Tape Reduction Minister PARM GILL, NDP Finance critic CATHERINE FIFE, interim Liberal Leader JOHN FRASER and Green Leader MIKE SCHREINER.
NOMA — Meanwhile, MPPs of all stripes are at the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association’s conference in Thunder Bay, including nine ministers for a candid “bear pit”-style Q-and-A with local politicians. Agenda.
SAVE THE DATE — U of T’s Ontario Institute For Studies in Education is reportedly holding a celebration of life for the late CHARLES PASCAL on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
ON THE ORDER PAPER
MIDNIGHT SITTINGS — It could be some late nights ahead. As we scooped last month, MPPs could sit as late as midnight from now until the end of the session on June 8. It’s a typical move from PC House Leader PAUL CALANDRA, to ensure there’s enough time to get their agenda items through due course. But: Given the PC majority and scrapping of Standing-Order tools that enabled Oppo to delay legislation they don’t like, they may not need to pull the trigger on midnight sittings.
First up: Bill 102, which controversially scraps postsecondary requirements for police recruits, continues to chug through second-reading debate.
Later on, Bill 60 is up for another round of third (and final) reading.
The late show: PC JOHN YAKABUSKI will put forward his private member’s Bill 96, which would allow parole boards to consider electronic monitoring of released inmates who committed sexual or domestic violence.
ON THE COMMITTEE CIRCUIT — FAMILIAR FACES — 9 a.m.: It’s Thursday, which means the Government Agencies committee gets to grill the newest recruits.
In the hot seat today is MICHAEL JIGGINS, ex-executive assistant to Minister STEVE CLARK, who’s up for a position on the Social Benefits Tribunal. Ditto JAYASHREE SENGUPTA, former counsel to the Ombudsman and vice-chair of the Human Rights Tribunal, who’s got a new gig on the Public Service Grievance Board.