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September 28, 2017

Are we asking the right question about vice-chancellors’ pay (“Because they’re worth it?”, Features, 14 September)? Is it them, or is the prime minister getting enough?

The population of Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island, stands at about 150,000. Its premier is paid C$149,146. At the current exchange rate, that converts to £0.63 per head. The UK prime minister probably has more to do for the £150,000 the job carries. If the same multipliers were used, the prime minister should be getting £41 million. Vice-chancellors, whatever they get, look cheap.

None of which contributes anything useful to the arguments about who is worth what, but at least it demonstrates the utter fatuity of making the comparison in the first place. Incidentally, according to the opaque information published by Statistics Canada for 2009-2010 (Salaries and Salary Scales of 
Full-time Teaching Staff at 
Canadian Universities, 2009/2010, Preliminary Report), the vice-chancellor and president of Prince Edward Island’s university was paid then more than the premier gets now. But the current premier was previously the university’s vice-chancellor and president. Make of that what you will.

Michael J. H. Liversidge
Emeritus dean Faculty of Arts
University of Bristol

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