Danielle In QP, November 21: MLA Remuneration

Ms Smith: Well, they certainly didn’t campaign on that.

Mr. Speaker, in his desperate attempts to spin to Albertans that big is small, that over is under, and that here is there, the Deputy Premier apparently also believes that false is true. He told a radio audience that $156,000 is the total cost to taxpayers for each MLA and that they don’t receive any other expenses or allowances.

Wrong. There are mileage allowances, fuel expenses, car washes, housing allowances, daily session allowances, not to mention cellphone, home Internet, home security systems, parking, rental cars, and so forth. Will the Deputy Premier set the record straight and acknowledge that he misled the public?

Mr. Lukaszuk: Mr. Speaker, I guess one could be calling points of order on this question all over the place. I was under the impression that up until this time we were discussing MLAs’ salaries. Indeed, there are no added expenditures to Alberta taxpayers relevant to MLAs’ salaries. It’s all laid out, and the opposition is getting very upset because it is very transparent and very easy to understand. But, yes, the member is correct. MLAs do get cellphones, and MLAs like the Leader of the Official Opposition who don’t live in Edmonton also get to have some accommodation allowance.

Ms Smith: Well, he told Rutherford something completely different.

Mr. Speaker, questions about government behaviour seem to bother the Premier, and she obviously doesn’t want to be seen to be defending her leadership on this issue, but we suspect she’s doing all of this because she needs a way to keep her caucus in line after forcing all of them to chip in to pay back the no-meet committee pay. Is this what the Premier calls raising the bar on accountability? [interjections]

The Speaker: The hon. Premier has the floor. Let’s respect that, please.

Ms Redford: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On April 23 Albertans voted for a government that had a vision that defined the future of this province, and in every constituency in this province they voted for candidates that they believed represented their vision and their values. As a result of that, we have a front bench and a caucus of Progressive Conservatives that I am proud to stand with, that I am proud to call colleagues, and whom I trust completely to deal with the issues that the opposition raises in question period.

Ms Smith: Glad she started answering questions, Mr. Speaker.

The way this RSP scheme works, we get an extra cheque sent to each MLA every fiscal year for $17,400 and another $4,900 in matching funds as an RSP benefit, for a total of $22,300. Now, in May the Assembly ordered the Members’ Services Committee via Motion 11 to report its recommendations on alternatives to the MLA pension plan. Presumably, this is to give us a chance to review, debate, and vote on those recommendations. When will that happen?