Governor General quietly receives a five-figure pay raise

Mary Simon is poised to pocket an $11,200 raise, pushing her annual salary to a staggering $362,800. This marks her third salary increase since 2021, exacerbating the financial strain on taxpayers.

Governor General quietly receives a five-figure pay raise
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby
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Canada’s Governor General has received another hefty pay hike just weeks after the Liberals refused to itemize her out-of-control spending.

Mary Simon is expected to receive a $11,200 raise on the backs of taxpayers, putting her annual stipend at $362,800, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF),

Under the Governor General’s Act, the viceregal is subject to annual raises and must receive a base salary of $270,602.

Her subsequent raises involve multiplying the previous year’s salary by “the lesser of 107 percent and the percentage that the industrial aggregate for the first adjustment year is of the industrial aggregate for the second adjustment year.”

Simon received a $9,500 raise last year, confirmed by the Privy Council Office (PCO).

Thursday’s media report highlights Simon’s third raise since her appointment in 2021. She will gross $34,000 more per year than her first year of service at Rideau Hall.

CTF Federal Director Franco Terrazzano questioned the entitlement, urging Ottawa to justify the automatic, hefty raises while Canadians struggle to afford basic necessities.

“Canadians are struggling to afford a jug of milk or a package of ground beef, so the government shouldn’t be rubber-stamping another raise for the Governor General,” Terrazzano told The National Post.

“A serious government would mandate the Governor General’s office be subject to access-to-information requests, cut all international travel except for meetings with the monarchy, end the expense account for former governors general, reform the pension and scrap the clothing allowance,” he said.

In 2022 — her first full year as viceregal — Simon spent nearly $3 million in travel expenses, reported The National Post. They include four junkets abroad and 17 trips within Canada.

Among them included a $1.17 million bill for a diplomatic junket to Dubai. Costs of inflight catering totalled $93,118 for Beef Wellington, fresh salmon and gourmet cakes with fine wine.

The year prior, she billed $801,418 to attend a Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany, alongside 30 guests and two photographers. Expenses included a $19,794 banquet for the dignitaries.

Public outcry intensified yet the Commons government operations committee rejected calls to itemize Simon’s spending, which jumped 11% last year to a whopping $37.6 million, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.

The Commons government operations committee last October 4 recommended Rideau Hall report quarterly on travel costs and “publish an annual report on its activities including its financial statements” with itemized costs. Cabinet rejected the proposal without comment.

The report Travel Expenditures Related To The Office Of The Governor General urged Rideau Hall to cut travel delegations by half, cease the use of government jets, and limit “menu choices” for inflight catering. 

However, high-ranking Liberal MPs penned international travel is a must to fulfill her mandate and “advance Canada’s interests and priorities.”

They pledged “to review and improve its current practices” to deliver “better value” for taxpayers elsewhere but did not specify how.

Julie Vignola, the government operations critic for the Bloc Québécois, bluntly said Canada should cut ties with the monarchy to save money.

“In 2024, it is insane that Quebecers and Canadians still have to take out their chequebooks to pay the costs of a monarchical and purely symbolic function,” Vignola told the publication.

“The time is not for salary increases taken from taxpayers’ pockets, but rather to cut our ties with this spendthrift institution that is opposed to the democratic values ​​of Quebec and of Canada as well,” she said.

In addition to the outlandish travel expenses, MPs learned that Simon also spent $37,000 for a new wardrobe including silk jackets and $380 shoes. She expensed those purchases to taxpayers in spite of her generous salary.

“Forty thousand dollars’ worth of clothes and a $324,000 a year salary? I think you can afford clothes,” Vignola earlier told the committee.

“This type of lavish spending erodes the trust of Canadians in the Office of the Governor General,” reads Supplementary Opinion.

As of writing, no MP has defended Simon’s splurging for official government business or otherwise.

Simon's mandate makes her a representative of the King in Canada’s constitutional monarchy, with a constitutional duty to uphold responsible governance, yet her continued wining and dining like royalty while Canadians suffer the consequences of an increasingly bloated bureaucracy is anything but. 

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  • By Tamara Ugolini

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