CALGARY, AB (October 20, 2014): Today, Wildrose candidates John Fletcher (Calgary-Elbow), Kathy MacDonald (Calgary-Foothills), Sheila Taylor (Calgary-West) and Tim Grover (Edmonton-Whitemud) pledged that if elected they would give their MLA pay raise to charity through the Wildrose Caucus Foundation.
In November 2012 – only months after the election - the PC government voted to double the taxpayer-funded RRSP benefit to MLAs. This effectively increased the base annual MLA salary from $145,485 to $156,311, a 7.5 per cent increase.
In response, Wildrose MLAs agreed to forfeit the after-tax portion of the increased benefit and instead donate it to charity through the Wildrose Caucus Foundation. Since then, the Wildrose Caucus Foundation has made several donations to charitable organizations – including the Be Brave Ranch and the Red Cross – with these funds.
Wildrose Leader Danielle smith said a Wildrose government would rescind the increase and praised her candidates for taking a stand.
"It’s an honour to stand alongside my future caucus colleagues as they take a principled stand against this PC government' s culture of entitlement,” Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said. “John, Kathy, Sheila and Tim truly understand what it means to put Albertans first.”
Wildrose Calgary-West candidate Sheila Taylor said the decision to sign the pledge to and return the pay raise was an easy one.
“The pay raise was not something the PCs campaigned on and I believe it’s not something MLAs should feel entitled to,” Taylor said. “I’m proud to make this commitment today and show Albertans that Wildrose is different.”
Smith also challenged Jim Prentice to immediately roll back the pay raise the PCs pushed through following the 2012 election and implement measures that stop politicians from using the provincial treasury to boost their own pay and perks.
“Mr. Prentice has promised to be different, that he'll put an end to decades of entitlement and corruption under this PC government. In the 2012 election, no politician campaigned on giving themselves big pay raises, which is why our Wildrose team moved to immediately donate the extra pay to charity," Smith said. “Wildrose firmly believes this money was never rightfully ours. It belongs in the hands of Albertans.”