Some provincial politicians are being paid thousands of dollars every year to head committees that never actually meet.
Premier Darrell Dexter will be paid $2,060 to chair the Internal Affairs Committee this year. He took over from former premier Rodney MacDonald, who replaced John Hamm – and so on.
This committee hasn’t met since Oct. 25, 1994.
Every year, the Speaker of the House gets $3,060 for chairing the Assembly Matters Committee. Its last meeting was four and a half years ago – April 5, 2005.
The rules state committee chairs are to be paid two or three thousand dollars annually, regardless of whether a committee does any work. Vice-chairs are paid $515.
Most committees have a regular schedule, such as meeting once a month. But others have to be specially called.
The Internal Affairs Committee would only meet in the event of some disagreement about rules on the floor of the legislature.
“My understanding is it hasn’t met because there hasn’t been a major issue of concern to address,” said Speaker Charlie Parker. “So maybe that’s a good thing. But it still has to be there in case there is a need for it.”
Parker spoke for Dexter, who was in Vietnam on a business trip and couldn’t be reached for comment, adding there has been some talk about changing the rules but Dexter would have to speak to that.
Parker didn’t want to comment on the optics of being paid to chair the dormant Assembly Matters Committee as the NDP looks to cut spending.
“It hasn’t met for a number of years and I’ve only been speaker for a few months,” he said. “But no, I think there is a willingness to get this committee up and going again.”