'Catastrophic' pay cut to be senator: Smith

Newly named Conservative Senator Larry Smith, who plans to run in the future as an MP, says he has taken a "dramatic, catastrophic" pay cut to serve the public.

Newly named Conservative Senator Larry Smith denied he was employing a cynical political strategy by accepting a Senate position while planning to run as an MP in the future, saying he has taken a "dramatic, catastrophic" pay cut to serve the public.

Appearing on CBC-TV's Power & Politics with Evan Solomon, Smith was asked if it was cynical to start off as a senator and use the profile to then run as an MP.

"No, I don't. You have to understand that I've worked very hard over my career to do what I'm doing now," Smith said.

The outgoing CEO of the Montreal Alouettes said he was not trying to sound arrogant but that he was making a major concession in his lifestyle to become a senator.

"In simple terms, the money I was earning in my last profession to where I would be in this profession is what I would call a dramatic, catastrophic pay cut," he said.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper named Smith, a former CFL player and commissioner, one of the Conservative Party's new senators, giving the Conservatives a majority in the Red Chamber.

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On Wednesday, Smith said he will run for his party in Montreal's West Island riding in the next federal election.

As a senator, Smith will make a salary of around $132,000 a year.