in MLA Pay Index
rush to pad their pay, did the Campbell government make
a drafting error? Will the Legislative session that begins
October 15th fix that error?
that gave the Premier a 54% pay increase and ordinary MLAs
a 29% increase, also provided for annual indexing with language
that doesn't match the way the consumer price index is calculated
or is published:
2 (1) Subject to this section and section 10, effective
April 1, 2007, the basic compensation for each member is
$98 000 per year.
(2) The basic compensation referred to in subsection (1)
must be adjusted every year on April 1, commencing April
1, 2008, by the percentage increase of the consumer price
index, if any, for the 12-month period ending on December
31 of the previous year.
consumer price index isn't available for a specific date
such as December 31st; it is available by month. Statistics
on the index says:
"Reference period: The reference period of the
CPI is the month associated with a specific level of that
index with a given time base. For example, the All-items
CPI for Canada for the month of May 2007 is 112.1 (2002=100)."
"Collection period: For most products, the first
three weeks of the reference month."
indexing formula for MLA pay can be compared to the indexing
formula for the Canada Pension Plan where the legislation
refers to a date, October 31, but explains that the Pension
Index is average of the twelve months of the Consumer Price
Index ending with that date; it doesn't refer to a nonexistent
index for a specific date or period.
language in Bill
37 (2007) could have said "The basic compensation
referred to in subsection (1) must be adjusted every April
1, commencing April 1, 2008, by the percentage increase
in the December consumer price index of the previous year
relative to the prior December consumer price index",
or it could have referred to the average of the twelve monthly
indices (the annual index) for the period ending December
31 relative to the average for the previous twelve months.
One could argue about what the Legislature meant, but the
Legislature should have said what it meant rather than leave
it open to interpretation.
the ambiguity, an interested party, say the Taxpayers Federation,
could apply for an injunction to stop the MLA's pay from
being adjusted in April 2008. Alternatively, the Campbell
government could use its Legislative majority to force the
adoption of an amendment to their money grabbing legislation.
Of course, they could also simply ignore the drafting error,
use their interpretation and laugh all the way to the bank.
The fairest solution would be to abandon the indexing and
promise not to increase their pay until sometime after the
minimum wage is increased and indexed.