Danielle In QP, November 8: MLA Remuneration

Ms Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We’re getting hundreds of calls and e-mails about the giant pay raise that the PCs pushed through under the direction of the Premier. Now she’s uncomfortable answering questions, which is understandable. It’s pretty hard to explain how $156,000 is actually less than $145,000. Maybe they’ll get it when they get 156,000 complaints.

Let’s see if the Premier is willing to share her thoughts today with the Assembly and with Albertans. Does the Premier still think that this 8 per cent pay raise is a good idea?

Mr. Lukaszuk: Mr. Speaker, what one can easily get tired of is explaining simple mathematics that I know this member understands and I know every single member of this Chamber understands but chooses, simply, to play politics with. The simple fact is this: the day before the last election, aside from the fact that the Premier eliminated committee pay and transition allowance and made sure that there are no pensions and no outstanding liability to Albertans, we also changed the pay structure so that altogether MLAs are receiving, from what used to be $170,000, now $156,000.

The Speaker: The hon. leader.

Ms Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Most Albertans want MLAs to be paid fairly, and $145,000 is certainly fair. That’s what everyone who ran for us in April was prepared to earn, but six months later under the orders of the Premier her MLAs just grabbed themselves another 11 grand. The Premier eliminated the transition allowance, as the Deputy Premier acknowledged. Will she now eliminate the 8 per cent pay raise?

Mr. Lukaszuk: Mr. Speaker, it is also very tiring to hear this member right now applauding this Premier for eliminating transition allowances and actually making Alberta the only province in Canada that doesn’t have a transition allowance when she is on the record just a few weeks ago arguing for a transition allowance.

Ms Smith: That’s not true, Mr. Speaker. I’d ask the Deputy Premier to check the Hansard.

Mr. Speaker, if a retailer raises the price of a product and then lowers it and calls it a discount, he is subject to prosecution under consumer protection laws. Albertans find it offensive that the PCs are trying to argue that up is down and left is right and black is white and more is less. Will the Premier do the right thing and eliminate this 8 per cent pay raise?

Mr. Lukaszuk: Mr. Speaker, I think the member is simply insulting Albertans by trying to introduce explanations about used cars and other things. Albertans know one thing for sure. The Premier made a commitment to have the most transparent method of paying MLAs in the country, she made a commitment that there will be no hidden pay, she made a commitment to lower MLAs’ pay, and she has delivered on all of them. Albertans know what is right, and they showed what is right in the last election by giving this Premier the mandate to govern this province.