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Danielle In QP, October 30: MLA Remuneration
Ms Smith: Mr. Speaker, the government appears ready to use its majority to slip through another increase in MLA pay while trying to convince Albertans that an extra thousand dollars a month is actually a decrease in compensation. No wonder these guys can’t balance the budget. They clearly want to increase MLA pay despite the Premier and the whip messing up the strategy for how to do it. How can they justify this thousand-dollar-a-month increase of taxpayer cash when the provincial budget is so far out of whack?
Ms Redford: Mr. Speaker, I received information today with respect to the Leader of the Opposition and another hon. Member from that side of the House bringing a motion forward . . .
An Hon. Member: Are you spying on us?
Ms Redford: I believe it was a press release or on the Internet with respect to a motion that is coming to the Members’ Services Committee, which is a committee of this Legislature. It is important for that committee to do its work without a partisan perspective. I will also say that we have been very committed to a transparent process with respect to compensation, and Albertans support that.
Ms Smith: Mr. Speaker, it’s so hard to get a clear answer from this government. We want a simple yes or no to this question. Is the government going to use its majority to push through an 8 per cent raise, a thousand dollars a month, for MLAs in the form of fully taxpayer-funded RRSP contributions? Yes or no?
Ms Redford: Mr. Speaker, there is a process under way at Members’ Services. We have been very clear with respect to the information that’s been provided. There have been months of study with respect to this, and I look forward to the results of the committee decision.
Ms Smith: Mr. Speaker, even if they try to hit undo a bunch of times to erase this terrible RRSP idea, the damage has already been done. Our collective reputation as MLAs has already been damaged. More importantly, there’s a signal that if 8 per cent more is good for MLAs, it must also be good for our public-sector unions. How are they going to unring that bell?
Ms Redford: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest to the hon. Leader of the Opposition that if she was worried about the collective reputation of MLAs in this House, she should actually look at the conduct of her party in the last six days. However, Mr. Speaker, the Members’ Services Committee has been considering a number of recommendations from the Major commission with respect to compensation pay, most of which this government has already rejected. We think it’s appropriate for Members’ Services to ensure that the work is being done to reflect what MLAs do right across this spectrum, and we look forward to the decision of the committee next week.
Ms Smith: At least I’ve been here the last six days. [interjections]