NDP Leader Gary Burrill's salary won't be paid by taxpayers
Only sitting leaders get compensation and expenses covered
The new leader of Nova Scotia's NDP, Gary Burrill, will lead the party's six member caucus, but unlike the elected members of his team he's not entitled to draw a taxpayer-funded salary or have his expenses covered by the province.
That's because there is no allowance for compensating a leader without a seat in the Nova Scotia Legislature.
It means he'll likely have to negotiate with the party for a salary, which is traditionally how unelected leaders cover their expenses.
Under the House rules, party leaders are compensated over and above their MLA wages.
All 51 members of the legislative assembly get a base salary of $89,234.90. The premier gets $112,791.20 on top of that.
Cabinet ministers and the leader of the Official Opposition receives a $49,046.51 top up. And the leader of the third party gets half that, or $ 24,523.25 extra. But it's only for elected members.
In this case, Burrill will have to name a leader in the House who will be entitled to the NDP leader's top up.
The last time the NDP elected a leader who didn't have a seat was in July 2000. Former MLA Helen MacDonald took over leadership of the party a year after losing her seat in the legislature.
Over nine months, John MacDonnell, who was appointed leader in the House, signed over most of his leader's top up to the party to help defray MacDonald's expenses.
It was an unofficial arrangement that fell outside the House rules.
MacDonald resigned as leader in April 2001 when a caucus revolt forced her out of the job.
In the case of the Tories, PC Leader Jamie Baillie had the party pay his salary for just one month in 2010. That's because he won the Cumberland South seat he currently holds two months after he became leader.
Liberal party paid
In recent years, the Liberals have twice had to tap party resources to compensate leaders without seats.
Francis MacKenzie, who led the Liberals between October 2004 and June 2006, got a salary from the Liberal Party.
To send a signal of austerity, he took less money then he would receive if he was entitled to a taxpayer-funded leader's salary. He never did get into the Nova Scotia Legislature. He resigned after failing to win a seat in Bedford during the 2006 general election.
The leader who preceded him, Danny Graham, also had the party pay his salary for the 16 months he was leader without a seat in the legislature.
He received the amount equivalent to the full salary he eventually earned as leader of the third party after the 2003 general election.
The NDP caucus and its leader's office each have plenty of money left in their budgets. According to the last quarterly report, each has under-spent in the first three quarters of 2015.
Added together, the savings total $121,000. Much of that comes from the fact the caucus office has been operating without a chief of staff since last June when interim leader Maureen MacDonald and former chief of staff Nancy Sheppard agreed to part ways.
But that money can only be used to defray the expenses or salaries of sitting MLAs or staff.