Nathalie Roy defends an increase of 10 million dollars in the budget of the National Assembly

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QUEBEC – National Assembly Speaker Nathalie Roy on Tuesday defended the $10 million increase in her budget during an annual accountability exercise.

The National Assembly is independent and its assignments do not need to be voted on in the legislature. The president must, once a year, justify her expenses to elected officials.

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On Tuesday, Roy stated that the budget of the National Assembly has increased to $202 million from $192 million in 2023-2024.

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Of this amount, $190.4 million will be paid primarily in salaries to Parliament’s 750 employees, while $19.7 million will be dedicated to the restoration and renovation of the buildings, less $8 million because it is part of a multi-year amortization.

“This is not frivolity,” Roy insisted to liberal deputy Filomena Rotiroti, who asked him to reassure all those who “question the good management of the National Assembly.”

For example, the increase in the operating budget was a recommendation from the Treasury Board Secretary, Roy noted.

“There are collective agreements that have been signed and others are under negotiation,” he stated. “The majority of these amounts are for salary increases.”

The last few months have also been marked by a 30 per cent increase in MNA salaries.

The budget of the National Assembly provides:

  • $4.6 million due to the increase in salary expenses, particularly linked to the potential renewal of collective agreements.
  • $826,000 for indexation of operating expenses for inflation.
  • $753,000 for the increase in MNA compensation to cover the entire year.
  • $102,000 to improve the Quebec Pension Plan.
  • $81,000 for the MNA retirement plan.

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Major renovation work will take place in the Blue Room from June to fall 2026. Roy declined to reveal its cost before the bid submission period ends.

“The data… remains confidential so as not to prejudice the bidding process. The amounts of the contracts will be announced from the moment of their award,” he stated.

The speaker also addressed the safety of elected officials. He revealed that the National Assembly will ultimately not move forward with the installation of security cameras in their homes or chalets.

“It was decided… that we would study on a case-by-case basis,” he said, taking charge of listing the different measures implemented to ensure the safety and well-being of members.

“If it can console you, know… that there are more than 400 cameras observing and monitoring what is happening (around the National Assembly), even in the parking lots. … You’re never alone.”

In terms of new technologies, Roy revealed that they are reflecting on the possibility of making greater use of artificial intelligence in the National Assembly.

The head of the government, Mario Laframboise, said artificial intelligence could potentially reduce search times “by 1,000 percent.” He said the legislature is in the “stone age,” and doesn’t even offer enough outlets to plug in all the electronic devices.

Roy said AI is a tool “that can be extremely profitable, magnificent and also extremely dangerous.”

Therefore, he said, it is necessary to proceed with “caution” and “parsimony.”

Finally, the spokesperson announced that the daycare pilot project in the National Assembly will be extended until December, giving time to take stock of the operations.

This project, which allows MNAs, political and administrative staff, as well as members of the press gallery, to have their children attended to at unusual times, has cost $142,000 to date.

Since September, 54 parents (a total of 69 children) have used the childcare services: seven MNAs, six political employees and 41 administrative employees.

The project, a strong symbol for women to see that it is possible to be a mother and do politics, could be perpetuated, as long as it has the approval of the National Assembly Office, Roy said.

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