M.P. Leans Toward “Excessive”
Pay Raise But Hasn’t Signed Up Yet

Member of Parliament for Crowfoot, Kevin Sorenson plans to take a 20 percent pay raise recently offered to all MPs in Canada but first wants to talk about it with his constituents.

Sorenson could not be reached by phone for comment but his legislative assistant, Jeannie Smith told The News from Ottawa that she was given permission to answer questions on the pay raise on his behalf.

Sorenson, she says voted against the pay raise bill because he felt it was “excessive.” But he says he believes his constituents would not want him to be paid less than other MPs.

If he accepts the raise his pay will jump from $109,500 to $131,400. Sorenson has been on the job for just over six months, representing 43,000 constituents.

Smith says a commission looking into the pay for MPs did a thorough job and that there has not been a pay raise “for some time.”

Under the plan a tax free allowance for MPs will vanish.

The bill received final reading on Thursday and will now go to senators
(who are also scheduled for a pay raise) for approval.

The increase in pay will be retroactive to January.

Smith says that “Kevin is working really hard for his constituents” and is in his office at 7:30 a.m. and leaves at about 11 p.m. He is usually in his constituency office on Fridays.

Prime Minister Jean Chretien voted for a pay raise that will see his salary jump 42 percent to $262,988.

MPs will have 90 days to sign on for their raise and Sorenson says that he will come home for the summer and see what his constituents think about the issue, but he expects to take the increase. Some MPs have stated publicly that they will decline the hike.

Meanwhile the Alliance MP says that he continues to support his leader Stockwell Day who has been urged by some in his party to step down. Sorenson says that he believes in the party’s constitution and that the majority of calls from his constituents over that matter want him to stand behind the leader of their party.

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