EDMONTON, AB (November 29, 2013): Nine months after rejecting a multi-year pay freeze for MLAs – and a year after increasing their salaries – PC members of the Legislature’s Members Services Committee have passed a three-year MLA pay freeze just before they legislate a similar pay freeze on public sector workers.
In February, Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith put forward a motion at committee to freeze MLA pay indefinitely. The motion was tabled two months after PC MLAs unilaterally hiked salaries for all MLAs from $145,000 a year to $156,000 a year. At the time, the PC members of the committee – David Dorward, Steve Young, Dave Quest, Mary-Anne Jablonski and Hector Goudreau – unanimously voted it down and elected to implement a one-year freeze instead: “I don’t have a crystal ball unlike other members who profess to. I’m not going to make any promises.”
-Steve Young, Edmonton-Riverview
“… we budget one year at a time. We actually don’t even know what this budget is going to look like...”
-Dave Quest, Sherwood Park-Strathcona
Smith, along with Wildrose MLA Heather Forsyth, supported today’s three-year MLA pay freeze motion, but said the PCs did it for the wrong reasons. “The reason to freeze MLA pay is to be leaders and to set the tone for the rest of government,” Smith said. “The PCs first hiked their own salaries and then rejected a multi-year freeze. That set the tone for the rest of government. Now, with the budget spiraling out of control, they are forcing multi-year pay freezes on the public sector and trying to bury their past behaviour. Albertans aren’t fooled.”