At the time this article was written
Henry Muggah was Clerk of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly
Members elected or re-elected at the General
Election in Nova Scotia on September 19th received an unexpected surprise in
the form of payments of full annual indemnities shortly after the election
results became known. For those who had been Members before the election and .
were re-elected the result was especially beneficial for most of them, having
received the annual indemnity, found that it was doubled for them.
This all came about from an interpretation
of the language of an amendment in 1974 to the House of Assembly Act that may
have been designed to prevent just such a result. Before that amendment the Act
provided for "sessional indemnities" to Members. It appeared that the
holding of more than one session within some calendar years might become a regular
practice and that Members could therefore become entitled to double indemnities
in those years. The relevant part of pre-1974 provision as enacted in 1969
"40(l) For each session of the
Legislature each member of the House shall be paid .... an annual indemnity of
five thousand dollars and an annual allowance for expenses of two thousand five
The relevant part of the 1974 provision
"40(l) Each member of the House shall
be paid .... an annual indemnity of nine thousand six hundred dollars and an
annual allowance for expenses of four thousand eight hundred dollars."
Regulations of the Legislature Internal
Economy Board enabled each member to draw his full indemnity and allowance in a
lump sum on January 2nd or at any time during the year or to draw it in
These provisions of the Act and Regulations
were taken to warrant and to require the payments that have been made.
All application is now before a judge of the
Supreme Court for an interpretation of Section 40.