MONTREAL - A former government employee described as a "shadow MP" by the Liberals says he resigned out of concern he was distracting people from the work of Stephen Harper.
Saulie Zajdel told a Montreal radio station that he quit after the controversy surrounding his federal job overshadowed a recent announcement by the prime minister.
"I was tired of being this distraction," Zajdel said Wednesday in a radio interview with CJAD.
The former Conservative candidate was hired by Heritage Minister James Moore after losing to Liberal MP Irwin Cotler in last year's election.
Cotler expressed concern that Zajdel was working on the taxpayer's dime to undermine him in his Montreal riding.
Zajdel said his job was to promote and explain Canadian Heritage programs that are available to multiethnic communities.
"Frankly, it's kind of an insult to say I was a shadow MP," he said.
Zajdel also hopes to run again in Mount Royal riding if the Tories will have him.
"I certainly support the Conservative party totally," he said.
"If the party, and the powers that be, and the association still want to have me as their candidate — it would be my greatest pleasure."
Here's a rundown of <a href="http://www.parl.gc.ca/ParlInfo/Lists/Salaries.aspx?Menu=HOC-Politic&Section=03d93c58-f843-49b3-9653-84275c23f3fb&Year=2011" target="_hplink">how much our MPs make</a> depending on their position in the House. (Alamy)
The base salary for a Member of Parliament is $157,731. Being named to cabinet or other positions nets an MP extra pay. (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/scazon/" target="_hplink">Flickr: Scazon</a>)
NDP MP Nycole Turmel is the Official Opposition Whip. (CP)
Bob Rae is the interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. (CP)
Tim Uppal is the Minister of State for Democratic Reform. Ministers of State are essentially junior cabinet ministers. (CP)
Jim Flaherty is Minister of Finance. (CP) All ministers also receive a car allowance of $2,122.
As NDP chief, Thomas Mulair is leader of the Official Opposition. He also receives a $2,122 car allowance. (CP)
Andrew Scheer is currently serving as speaker. On top of his salary, Scheer receives a rent allowance of $3,000 and a car allowance of $1,061. (CP)
As Prime Minister, Stephen Harper also receives a car allowance of $2,112. (AP)