Soldiers' pay raises: Some random notes

Members of the Canadian Forces learned yesterday they’re getting their annual pay raise. Everyone gets a minimum of 2.62 per cent, retroactive to April 1. Some will get more, depending on their profession. Those with the rank of colonel and greater will get a minimum of 3.5 per cent. Here’s some reaction:

Jack Layton, NDP Leader: “Well, I've got to ask the Conservatives how come the brass are getting over three percent and the rank and file are getting less, barely inflation. That doesn't seem right to me. Let's have some fairness in this. And also the places that they're living, we had two of our members at Petawawa just the other day. The homes aren't in good shape, the sewer systems, water systems. Let's start taking take care of the health and well-being of the people who are willing to be on the front lines for Canada.”

Ujjal Dosanjh, Liberal Defence critic: “[The brass] already are better paid than the people in the lower ranks and that simply increases the gap on an ongoing basis and I just don't think that that's good for morale of the people . . . I think that we should be actually increasing the wages, the salaries of those in the lower ranks with a larger percentage.  I'd like to hear the rational as to why what's being done is done.”

[A military spouse] “I think it is a fair amount, considering inflation.   Its nice to get these raises since a lot of military families are one income families because we move so much its hard to find a real stable job.”

Some other notes:

  • Last year, CF members received a raise of about 2.5 per cent
  • Members of the Canadian Parliament earn a base salary of $144,700 this year. That’s about 2.3 per cent better than last year. (MPs earn more for things like chairing committees, being a cabinet minister, and so on.)
  • According to the new pay scale, a Brigadier General in the Canadian army earns a top rate of $12,058 a month or about $145,000 a year. One Brigadier General in the news a lot these days is David Fraser, the Canadian general in charge of Canada’s troops in Afghanistan.
  • The average wage in Canada increased by 3.5 per cent between July 2005 and July 2006, according to Statistics Canada
  • U.S. military members are getting a raise this year of a minimum of 2.2 per cent. (President Bush signed this into law on Oct. 17). Last year, U.S. military members got a 3.1 per cent raise.
  • The top rate for a Captain in the British army is 102.31 pounds per day, which works out the equivalent of about $84,000 Canadian dollars a year,  and is about 3 per cent more this year than last year. The top rate for a Captain in the Canadian army is now $87,020.

Some interesting discussion on this issue and reaction from serving members at the venerable board.

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