Letter to the Editor – The RMC Commandant’s Frozen Salary

Dear Sir:

The appointment of a new commanding officer or, in the case of the Royal Military College of Canada a new Commandant, is cause for reviewing the position’s terms of reference.

As such, I would be remiss in not drawing to the Commandant’s attention (through the medium of e-Veritas) the regrettable state of his frozen salary. For it seems that Parliament has not amended the legislation which created the College and, within it, the Commandant’s remuneration.

Section 2 of the 1874 “Act to establish a Military College in one of the Garrison Towns of Canada” (found at the Statutes of Canada, 37 Victoria Chapter 36) is clear: “The [annual] salary of the Commandant [shall] be not more than three thousand dollars . . .” In its wisdom, Parliament did not see it necessary to legislate for any increase in salary over time including for what we now refer to as cost-of-living increases (or good behaviour).

Given Parliament’s supremacy in such matters (while acknowledging the greater role of the judiciary in Canadian public life) the present day salary provisions of the National Defence Act (including QR&O) do not readily come to the aid of the Commandant. Only Parliament can repeal or amend its express legislation on the issue.

Perhaps a frozen salary is just what Parliament intended. After all, mere considerations of pay are surely outweighed by the privilege of being appointed Commandant.

Yours faithfully, 16142 J.J. Smith (RR 88)

Professor Jeffrey J. Smith

The Norman Paterson School of International Affairs

Carleton University


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