It’s time to cut Manitoba politicians’ pay

The average Manitoban makes $32,090 per year according to Stats Canada.

Keep that in mind as you read what our Manitoba provincial politicians get paid:

(Info from Manitoba Legislative Assembly)

  • ALL MLAs Basic Annual Salary…$91,201.00

NOTE: Everything below is in addition to the $91,201.00 that they all get paid.

  • PREMIER Additional Annual Salary…$55,944.00
  • CABINET MINISTERS Additional Annual Salary…$36,745.00
  • CABINET MINISTERS WITHOUT PORTFOLIO Additional Annual Salary…$32,570.00
  • SPEAKER Additional Annual Salary…$49,931.00
  • DEPUTY SPEAKER Additional Annual Salary…$10,303.00
  • LEADER OF THE OFFICIAL OPPOSITION Additional Annual Salary…$49,931.00
  • LEADER OF A RECOGNIZED OPPOSITION PARTY Additional Annual Salary…$42,085.00
  • GOVERNMENT HOUSE LEADER Additional Annual Salary…$10,233.00
  • HOUSE LEADER OF THE OFFICIAL OPPOSITION Additional Annual Salary…$7,359.00
  • HOUSE LEADER OF A RECOGNIZED OPPOSITION PARTY Additional Annual Salary…$5,889.00
  • GOVERNMENT WHIP Additional Annual Salary…$7,359.00
  • WHIP OF THE OFFICIAL OPPOSITION Additional Annual Salary…$5,889.00
  • WHIP OF A RECOGNIZED OPPOSITION PARTY Additional Annual Salary…$4,418.00
  • CAUCUS CHAIR Additional Annual Salary…$6,343.00
  • CAUCUS CHAIR OF THE OFFICIAL OPPOSITION Additional Annual Salary…$6,343.00
  • LEGISLATIVE ASSISTANT Additional Annual Salary…$4,418.00
  • PERMANENT CHAIRPERSON – STANDING OR SPECIAL COMMITTEES Rate of $189.00 per meeting to an annual maximum of…$4,418.00
  • PERMANENT VICE-CHAIRPERSON – STANDING OR SPECIAL COMMITTEES Rate of $189.00 per meeting to an annual maximum of…$3,682.00

If you’re thinking it looks like politicians are enriching themselves at your expense – you are 100% correct.

You’re paying for all of this.

This money is taken from you and every Manitoban.

The politicians are taking money from people who make less than they do and are using it to increase their own wealth far beyond most Manitobans.

In fact, provincial politicians get paid so well that they are now in the top 10% of income earners.

Oh, and guess what? Those numbers up there are going even higher – since the new government is getting a big pay raise.


This is why more and more people are seeing the makings of a Corrupt Ruling Class: Politicians, bankers, and some heads of massive corporations who have more in common with each other than the people they are supposed to serve.

It’s no wonder that low-income people and the middle class have been abandoned. Once politicians get into power – or even opposition – they become among the wealthiest groups in society. They act to protect each other’s interests – ensuring the money keeps on flowing to them – while often forgetting about everyone else.

As this happens, it’s easy to forget that politicians are supposed to be our servants – the people are meant to be the bosses. But in today’s world, public service is losing its meaning.

Today, politicians extract wealth from low income people and the struggling middle class. Politicians – as a group – are no longer servants, they are rulers in the worst sense of the term.

In Manitoba, politicians pay is set by the politicians themselves. Through government committees they get to vote themselves bonuses and raises – all paid for with your money.

This is corruption hiding in plain sight

Giving politicians control over their own pay is absurd.

Imagine if you told your boss that you would decide your own pay and your boss had no choice but to pay you whatever you decided. What do you think would happen?

And yet, politicians get to live out that fantasy in real life.

We are supposed to be the bosses of our politicians, so why don’t we have any say in what they get paid?

It’s a broken and corrupt system.

I’ve been in the political world. I’ve seen some politicians who work very hard, and others who don’t work hard at all. There are good people, bad people, and everyone in between.

But I can tell you this: On average, politicians don’t work any harder than anyone else.

And even if they did, that still wouldn’t justify giving politicians the power to pay themselves.

After all, there are tons of hardworking Manitobans making minimum wage, or living paycheque to paycheque, or fighting to get out of debt, or struggling on a fixed income after a lifetime of contributing to society. How is it right for politicians to get paid way more than the Manitobans they claim to serve?

This is a serious problem.

If things don’t change, the very essence of our democracy – what’s left of it – will be lost. Politicians will keep drifting away from the people, and the circle of those in the ruling class will get smaller and smaller.

We can’t let that happen.

That’s why it’s time to cut politicians pay down to what the average Manitoban makes

It would be very easy to do. It’s simply common sense.

Set up a citizen committee made up of regular everyday Manitobans. Empower that committee with the decision on how much provincial politicians get paid.

The citizens committee would meet once a year to vote on what politicians get paid. The politicians could speak before the committee and ask for a raise, but the final decision would be up to Manitobans.

I bet the high pay and all those bonuses you read about at the top of this article would get cut very fast if the people had their say.

And because Manitobans are fair and even-handed people, I imagine we would bring politicians pay in line with what the average Manitoban makes. It’s a fair, reasonable, and just decision.

There would be big benefits to this.

By bringing politicians pay down to what most Manitobans make, politicians would be better able to understand the financial challenges people face on a daily basis. They would make better decisions. They wouldn’t be “above” the people, they would be “of” the people. They would truly be public servants.

This is how it should work. Politicians get paid with our money. They work for all of us. We should get to decide what they get paid.

It’s only fair.

Spencer Fernando

This article orginally appeared on – Manitoba’s homepage