To the editor,
This is an open letter to MLAs in Nova Scotia. Upon reading the new MLA expense forms now available online I am offering up a challenge to anyone in the legislature to introduce a bill that will give the working class people a break.
A very large number of Nova Scotians earn their living working away from home, myself included. A great number of these people don't have the luxury of their elected officials who receive living expenses, travel expenses and a daily per diem for meals while working for us. While many people who travel out west get living out allowance and transportation covered, I know many who pay for their own flights and expenses to get to Alberta to work in the oil patch. These people bring very good paycheques back to Nova Scotia and they pay pretty hefty provincial taxes as well as spending their earnings here in Nova Scotia.
I live in Glace Bay but I have been working in Halifax when work is available at the JDI Shipyard since 2001. My employer does not pay living expenses or meals or mileage. With the depressed economy we are faced with in Cape Breton as a result of the closure of our mines and steel plant most work available requires people to work away from home.
I don't have a problem with these MLAs receiving this money to cover their expenses because I don't believe anyone should have to spend money to earn a living. The fact they only have to live 100 km from the legislature to qualify for these perks seems rather extravagant. My MLA whom I voted for and support resides not far from me and travels approximately 450 km to the legislature. This is roughly the same distance I travel to where I stay while working in Halifax. Because he is a minister in the ruling party he qualifies for $1,700 for an apartment in Halifax plus mileage and per diem. My challenge to him and all our elected members is to introduce a bill that will allow all Nova Scotians to claim at income tax time their out-of-pocket expenses for room and board and travel expenses while earning a living and working away from home.
I think the old saying what's good for the goose is good for the gander certainly applies here.
Glace Bay/Middle Sackville