Manitoba Public Insurance will pay its former chief executive officer $180 per hour, in part, to plead poverty before a provincial regulator next month.
Marilyn McLaren’s consulting contract with MPI calls for her to work 21.75 hours per month for $3,900.
Copies of the contract were distributed to reporters Monday by the opposition Conservatives, who obtained it under a freedom of information legislation request.
The contract does not specify that McLaren will help MPI to prepare its 2015 rate application or its defence of that application before the Public Utilities Board.
However, Andrew Swan, the minister responsible for the public auto insurer, has repeatedly said McLaren’s experience will be invaluable to MPI in that regard. Sources have told the Free Press that MPI will seek an increase of about five per cent.
"I think if you’re going to the Public Utilities Board and make the case that you’re running out of money you shouldn’t pay somebody an enormous amount of money to make the case for you," Conservative Leader Brian Pallister said Monday after Tory MLAs raised the issue during question period. "I would think that would be self-defeating on the face of it."
Swan would not comment on a Free Press report that MPI would seek a five per cent hike, calling it "speculation." He said MPI’s general-rate application was still being prepared.
"I think everybody in Manitoba knows it’s been a difficult winter," Swan said. "We know there’s been more claims than in typical years. Unfortunately those claims have been more expensive."