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Only one Kelowna councillor opted out of 35% pay raise

Ron Cannan

Only one Kelowna city councillor put his money where his mouth is.

Coun. Ron Cannan was one of four councillors who voted against a 35% pay raise for themselves, but he was the only one to opt-out out of the raise before Tuesday’s deadline.

Couns. Mohini Singh, Gord Lovegrove and Rick Webber also voted against it, but opted to keep the money after a series of contentious votes.

While Cannan initially voted for the raise, he says he prayed on the topic and thought it was important to lead by example.

"I have heard from many residents in our community who are facing hard times financially as a result of the high interest rates and inflationary pressures. Property taxes also continue to increase higher than inflation," he said in a statement to "I think most folks would like to be in a position to give themselves a 35% wage increase. However, Council is not self employed. This is taxpayers hard earned money."

He said he also thinks the new salary should apply after the next election "which is the tradition for many councils."

For years, Council policy was to accept raises tied to the cost of living — a 4.17% increase earlier this year. But when staff pointed out in a report that they were among some of the lowest paid politicians among similar-sized cities, they moved to boost Mayor Tom Dyas to the 60th percentile of that group and councillors earn 40% of the mayor’s salary.

In dollars, the mayor’s salary is $134,848, but will rise to $145,200 Jan. 1, 2025. That puts councillor part-time salaries at $50,535 until Jan. 1 2025 when it rises to $58,080. Those salaries will be reviewed every two years to ensure the mayor’s salary remains in their set range.

Cannan, 63, already collects a $56,431 yearly pension as a former MP.

While those councillors voted against the raises at certain stages, the final vote on April 15 shows a unanimous vote, mostly due to confusion among councillors about the agenda item. Cannan tried to raise the issue again at the next meeting for a proper recording of votes, but it was blocked by Coun. Webber who declined to revisit the issue.

Two weeks after the vote, Mayor Tom Dyas removed Cannan, Singh and Lovegrove from the Central Okanagan Regional District.

— This story was corrected at 11 a.m. May 21. A previous version overstated Ron Cannan's MP Pension.

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