While Stephen Harper's public servants are losing their jobs, his personal chef at 24 Sussex isn't doing too badly.
Earlier this month Chef Timothy Wasylko got a raise. They won't say how much he's getting a year. That's a state secret. But it's somewhere between $61,048 and $72,919. Not too bad at taxpayer expense.
The exact amount was decided by the federal cabinet. Imagine, in a country as big and as important as Canada, how much the prime minister's chef gets paid has to be decided by the federal cabinet. Have they not got anything better to decide.
Wasylko prepares meals for Harper and his Madame as well as looking after private dinners they have with friends at 24 Sussex.
He also prepares noonday meals for the two Harper schoolchildren.
By all appearances the Harpers get along well with their chef. It wasn't always that way.
Harper arrived at 24 Sussex in 2006, after firing the chef he had at Stornoway. The family cat had died one day and Harper asked the chef to go bury it in the back yard. The chef replied that he was a trained chef, not an animal undertaker. He sued Harper but they settled out of court, and of course, that amount too, has remained a state secret.
There's big staff over at the official prime ministerial residence. There are two servants who earn somewhere $ 40 000 and $ 46 000 per year. We're not told exactly what they do.
And then there are maids, upstairs, downstairs and somewhere in between, plus a number of chauffeurs (those kids have to be driven to school and Madame has to be driven downtown) and don't forget the famous Harper gardeners.
In all there are about a dozen people, and that doesn't count about a dozen maids and cleaners, some on contract, nor a dozen RCMP bodyguards.