Alberta is to move forward with salary cuts to its legislators after an all-party committee unanimously voted in favour.
The committee voted to cut the pay of MLAs by 5 percent and the pay of the Premier by 10 percent.
Alberta MLAs will see their pay reduced from $127,296 to $120,931, and Premier Jason Kenney’s salary will decrease from $206,856 to $186,170.
Currently, Albertan legislators are paid the most out of any in Canada at $127,296, even with the pay cut they will still be making more than their provincial counterparts.
Premier Kenney noted the pay cuts as an important part of his party’s commitment to tackle the dismal financial situation of his province.
“I recall consulting all @Alberta_UCP candidates on this proposed pay cut in February. I was so impressed to see unanimous agreement to lead by example in getting Alberta’s finances back in order. Thanks to the entire @UCPCaucus team!” Kenney tweeted.
The committee also voted to reduce allowable travel expenses and end the practice of giving gas cards to MLAs.
While the opposition NDP on the services committee also voted in favour of the cuts, they still suggested that move may lead to more cuts in bureaucratic spending.
NDP MLA Thomas Dang, in particular, was worried that the salary cuts may be the prelude to cuts to the civil service.
“I think really what he’s doing by trying to introduce MLA pay cuts is to set up a larger cut that’s going to be for our public sector jobs and workers,” Dang said.
In response, UCP MLA Laila Goodridge called Dang’s theory “one of the most cynical motions I’ve seen in my time in politics. It is absolutely ridiculous.”
Kenney remains proud of his government’s decision, saying that the decision reflects the need for leaders to take personal responsibility for the state of their province.
“We were elected with a mandate to be fiscally responsible and that has to start at the top,” he said.
“Today’s decision is about leadership by example.”