Published in the National Post on January 17th, 2011
With all the recent musing about merit pay for teachers, it was only natural for National Post columnist Kelly McParland to float the notion of merit pay for politicians earlier this month. Holding politicians to account financially, and not just simply at the ballot box, is an idea that deserves its own public debate.
As an Ontario legislator, as well as someone who has experienced the risks and benefits of the free market, I believe merit and performance should become the main factors that determine the wages of elected people. All government policies have consequences that affect voters’ standard of living. That standard ought to be the barometer that determines remuneration for those who set these policies.
If the standard of living for people in a province increases, then MPP’s should get an increase in remuneration equal to their constituents’ rate of increase. However, if their policies or legislation have resulted in a decrease in the standard of living of their constituents, then an MPP’s wages ought to decrease at the same rate.
I would be willing to bet that if this compensation formula were in place, Ontario’s Green Energy Act (and its accompanying skyrocketing electricity cost) would not have been introduced by Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government. For that matter, the health tax and eco-taxes would never have seen the light of day. If MPP salaries were tied to economic performance, Ontarians wouldn’t have to deal with the half-million provincial regulations that are currently stifling our economy and killing job creation.
Implementing merit pay for politicians would be one way to ensure our elected officials think before they legislate.