FREDERICTON (GNB) – The legislative administration committee, an all-party committee of the legislative assembly of New Brunswick, has appointed an independent two-person committee to review and make recommendations on the salaries and benefits of MLAs under the Legislative Assembly Act.

This will include reviewing the additional indemnities for parliamentary office holders, and the salaries and benefits of MLAs who have responsibilities under the Executive Council Act.

The committee, which includes retired judge Margaret Larlee and lawyer G. Robert Basque, will also review the basis for future compensation adjustments, the annual constituency office allowance of each MLA to cover rent, the salary of an assistant and office expenses, and the per diem and transition allowances.

In order to determine whether it is now appropriate to adjust the salary amounts established in 2007, as well as the allowances under review, the committee is seeking input from the public. Individuals or organizations wishing to comment should do so by Friday, June 10, by submitting comments in writing to the Office of the Clerk, Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick, P.O. Box 6000, Fredericton, N.B., E3B 5H1; by phoning 506-453-2506 or by email to leg-consultations@gnb.ca.

Larlee served as the first woman appointed as a Judge of the Court of Appeal of New Brunswick from 1998 until her retirement in 2019. She was called to the bar in 1974 and spent the next 11 years working in private practice and for the provincial government. In 1985, Larlee was also the first woman appointed as a Judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench of New Brunswick. Larlee served as co-chair of the New Brunswick Electoral Boundaries Commission in 2006 and has played an active role in the Canadian Chapter International Association of Women Judges.

Basque currently practises as a partner at the Moncton law firm of Forbes Roth Basque, specializing in areas such as administrative, employment and labour law. He was called to the bar in 1981 and was appointed Queen’s counsel in 2001. During his career, Basque has served as president of the Law Society of New Brunswick and has participated in a compensation review process for Moncton City Council.

A previous review of MLA salaries and benefits took place in 2007 when compensation commissioner and former Judge of the Court of Appeal of New Brunswick, Patrick A.A. Ryan, recommended that all MLAs receive a base annual salary of $85,000. He also recommended that certain additional amounts be paid for such positions as premier, minister of the Crown, leader of the official Opposition, Speaker, deputy Speaker, leader of a registered political party represented in the legislative assembly, house leader and whip.

Following the adoption of Ryan’s recommendations, the base amount of $85,000 has remained unchanged and the additional amounts for the premier and ministers were reduced for several years and have only recently returned to the amounts recommended in 2007.