Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia to trim MLA perks

Nova Scotia MLAs are going to lose a couple of longstanding perks.

Nova Scotia MLAs are going to lose a couple of longstanding perks.

The Dexter government will use its majority on a legislature committee to eliminate an MLA severance payment as well as their ability to sell their office furniture and equipment.

The $45,000 one-time payment is available to every MLA who quits or is defeated, on top of a generous severance allowance. After the last election, that cost the province more than $600,000.

There's no estimate on how much MLAs may have pocketed by selling their office equipment. The government wants all furniture and equipment to belong to the province once an MLA is through with it.

Premier Darrell Dexter said Friday that people regard these perks as being unreasonable.

This is only the first step toward eliminating or changing the rules that govern MLA expenses and perks.

'Very poor reason for doing it'

Liberal MLA Manning MacDonald accused the NDP of trying to score political points, noting they had never complained about these issues before.

"The hypocrisy of the NDP comes out in this. I've been on the internal economy board for a long time, and I haven't heard anybody on the internal economy board or in the NDP complain about the perks the members were getting," MacDonald said.

"It's only now that they have a majority government that Darrell Dexter is trying to make himself look good and curry favour with some Nova Scotians — and perhaps he has a short-term win in that."

But Dexter said it's a matter of good public policy, not of political expediency.

"That would be a very poor reason for doing it, I'm sure," he said.

"But the reality is, this is a new government and we said there was going to be a new approach to many of these matters and there is going to be a difference people will notice."