New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord says there is nothing wrong with him being paid two salaries, one from provincial taxpayers and one from the Progressive Conservative party.
"There's a salary that's set in place for the premier," Lord explained during a tour of a construction site at Bathurst on Wednesday. "And there's a salary that's in place for the leader of the party that's what I collect. I collect money for being premier and money for being leader of the party."
According to Public Accounts records from the province of New Brunswick, between April 2004 and March 2005 Lord collected $115, 596 for his duties as MLA for Moncton East and premier of New Brunswick. Party records show he also received $75,862 from the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick between July 2004 and June 2005. Lord has been collecting pay from the party for several years, and says the extra amount is justified and perfectly legal.
|Canadian Premier Salaries 2004-2005|
|Bernard Lord, N.B.||$191,458|
|Jean Charest, Que.||$175,361|
|Danny Williams, N.L.||$163,252|
|Dalton McGuinty, Ont.||$152,835|
|Gordon Campbell, B.C.||$146,000|
|Ralph Klein, Alta.||$135,420|
|Lorne Calvert, Sask.||$135,420|
|Gary Doer, Man.||$113,500|
|Pat Binns, P.E.I.||$107,237|
|Rodney MacDonald, N.S.||$105,621|
The practice is legal in New Brunswick only because the legislature adopted a controversial law following a scandal in 1980 to fix a problem that was engulfing former Conservative premier Richard Hatfield.
Hatfield was caught receiving loans from the Conservative party during a fundraising scandal in the late-1970s, a practice ruled a conflict of interest with his duties as premier by Mr. Justice John Paul Barry.
To fix the problem, Hatfield passed a law to make the payments legal. Barry resigned as the conflict commissioner in protest and Conservative Justice Minister Rod Logan was left to defend the widely criticized law.
Opposition leader Shawn Graham did not collect a salary from the Liberal Party of New Brunswick last year, earning only his legislative salary.
Lord makes no apologies for collecting money from his party and provincial taxpayers at the same time even though the practice has been ruled a conflict before and was only made legal under controversial circumstances.
"There's absolutely nothing wrong with me receiving a salary from the PC Party of New Brunswick as long as it is fully declared to the public, as it is declared now," Lord said.
The issue also generated controversy in Newfoundland in the late 1980s when former Liberal Leader Clyde Wells collected a salary from his party while serving as Leader of the Opposition. Wells continued the practice until he became premier in March 1989, giving up the money following criticism from the Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland.
Newfoundland's current Conservative Premier Danny Williams an independently wealthy business owner nicknamed 'Danny Millions' donates his entire paycheque to a foundation that distributes the money to local Newfoundland charities.
Prince Edward Island Premier Pat Binns also doesn't receive any salary from his party in addition to his pay as MLA and premier.
Nova Scotia Premier Rodney MacDonald doesn't take a salary from the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia and neither did his predecessor John Hamm.