The Canadian Senate seeks to increase its budget to a record $134.9 million, new budget documents obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter show.
The proposal includes a 10% increase for administration costs and an automatic increase in salaries for Senators and MPs under the Parliament Of Canada Act.
The proposal follows Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s promise to Canadians that Cabinet’s “savings will come from government operations” in March and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s November pledge to cut government spending by $500 million.
Following Trudeau’s November 9 announcement, the Parliamentary Budget Office released its Supplementary Estimates (B) report showing expenses such as consultants were on the rise instead.
“Spending on professional services continues to increase,” the report said. “Proposed authorities for professional and special services are at a record $21.6 billion.”
“This amount will likely increase with additional spending requests,” it said.
Figures published in an earlier report show the rates of government spending have doubled since 2015, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
The Senate Committee on Internal Economy argued it requires millions “to provide the best possible environment for Senators to effectively contribute to federal legislation and public policy issues in the best interest of all Canadians” in an Executive Summary of its 2024 budget, Blacklock’s Reporter reported.
Budget subcommittee chair Senator Éric Forest said at a December 14 hearing “the report is based on four principles: maintaining a high quality of service to Senators, support for environmental measures in the workplace, good stewardship of public funds, and focus on supporting core activities.”
Senators currently make $169,000 a year.
Freeland said March 28 Ottawa intends to cut “billions” from discretionary budgets such as travel and consultants.
“I think those savings are eminently obtainable,” said Freeland, emphasizing it’s “really important to be a fiscally responsible government.”
“Proposed authorities for professional and special services are at a record $21.6 billion,” said the Estimates report. “This amount will likely increase with additional spending requests.”
Yet treasury board President Anita Anand insisted November 7 Canadians “will see that all the ministries need to ensure they are doing their part to reduce wasteful spending.”
“I will show you very soon in the coming days the progress we are making,” the minister said.