Pressure from PC Leader Baillie leads to fully independent review HALIFAX – Progressive Conservative Party Leader Jamie Baillie's campaign to have MLA pensions taken out of the hands of MLAs themselves and determined by an independent review has succeeded.
"It is important that the public interest is protected," said Baillie. "We have seen the result of a flawed system where MLAs made the rules for themselves."
The review, as originally planned, had MLAs setting the terms of reference and suggesting names for the review panel. Today the Speaker announced changes to his review of MLA pensions. Nova Scotia's chief justice has recommended three retired judges to the Speaker. The Speaker will seek to have one of them chair the panel and select the panelists and the panel will set the terms of reference for the review. MLAs will not interfere with the scope of the review.
"Today's meeting met our objective of taking decisions about MLA pay and benefits out of the hands of MLAs," said Baillie.
Baillie says that from now on, all decisions about MLA pay and benefits should be made by an independent panel of citizens.
"It is important, that as we go forward, people are put back in charge of the system," said Baillie. "I am looking toward a long-term permanent structure to oversee MLA pay and benefits. That is the next step."
House Leader Chris d'Entremont attended today's meeting on behalf of the Progressive Conservatives.
"This is the approach that our party's leader, Jamie Baillie, insisted would be a requirement for our party's support," said d'Entremont.