Stephen Harper is getting ready to increase MPs salaries.
Their salaries have been frozen for the last three years. But if you asked most Canadians, they would say ‘Freeze them for three hundred years!"
An Ottawa MP is paid $ 157,731 a year right now. Plus another $50,000 or so in perks and extras on the side. A minister gets $233,247 a year. So does Opposition leader Tom Mulcair. He's worth at least as much as any minister, even the ones who are awake.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper makes a nice $ 315,462 a year, plus his nice house, a chef, the gardeners and a fancy cottage in the Gatineaus.
Harper's got a plan to give MPs their pay raise and not get booted out of office for doing it. Tricky, but it could work.
He'll mix in the backroom pay raise discussions with the issue of making MPs contribute more into their overly-generous pension plan.
And secondly, he'll hold the whole discussion in secret, as he did at a caucus meeting this week.
It's very important the public doesn't find out what is being said and what amounts are being tossed around. And very important too that the news media don't find out and spill the beans publicly.
Then everything gets buried later this fall into another one of Harper's "Omnibus" budget implementation bills, a giant legislative bill that includes as many as 70 separate laws that get about 5 minutes apiece of debate and are shoved through Parliament with closure before anyone really knows what was in the fine print, or the clauses and the sub-clauses.
Meanwhile, to distract the media and the Canadian public, Harper opens up a debate on MPs' pensions. That's the saleable part, because it deals with making MPs pay more, not the part that gives them more. It's called obfuscation.
The NDP and the Liberals had better not vote against the huge "Omnibus" legislation, no matter what sort of garbage Harper hides in it, otherwise he will be able to accuse them later on of having voted against legislation reducing MPs pensions.
And nobody wants to be the bad guy sticking up for big pensions for MPs.
Harper's not crazy. That's why he's still in power.