Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that question. I would like to answer it in this fashion.
I ran as a member of Parliament and said that I did not care if I did not get a dollar out of this job. I have come here to make sure that in the future there is a country left for my children and grandchildren.
If one wants to know how serious I am about that, I was called into a meeting in my constituency not too long ago about some of the infrastructure programs that hon. members have provided for us. One of my town councils was very interested in it.
I said to the mayor that I had read about two months ago that they had increased their salaries by 2 per cent. I asked him whether that was a fact. He said that yes, it was a fact. I asked him how he could justify that. They wanted a handout from the federal government. They could not run their town council efficiently enough to do without these subsidies and he was asking me to represent him. I said that he was not dedicated enough to freeze his own wages. I knew he was a professional, that he was drawing a fairly good wage to date, that he did not need the bucks.
I would say to the hon. member that I do not think there is a member of Parliament here today who really is going to starve if his wages are frozen until this debt or deficit mess is cleaned up. That is why I am here. I am here to try to make level headed, honest decisions that will benefit future generations and not for my wage cheque today or my pension plan. I am dead serious about that.
When I found that this council had given itself a 2 per cent wage increase, I said that if it wanted any support from me it should kill that wage increase. Whether it will listen to me or not, I do not know, but that is how I would like to respond to the hon. member. I am prepared to sit here without a wage increase until we have a balanced budget and then I will tell the member what I think his work is worth.
Right now we have bigger things to do than worry about salary increases.