By Justin Seward
Cypress- Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes is asking is fellow MLAs and bureaucrats to immediately take a temporary pay cut in a Dec. 9 press release
“In solidarity with Alberta small and medium businesses and seeing them come through the pandemic and lockdown, and in recognition of the financial impact that the new measures taken today (Dec.8) by the province will have on entrepreneurs of this province, I am calling on my colleagues; all Albertan politicians-including Alberta’s Members of Parliament- to take an immediate 20 per cent pay reduction for six months,” said Barnes
“I also call for all Government of Alberta bureaucrats making more than MLAs ($145,000) to accept the same six month, 20 per cent reduction in gross pay. I call for Alberta politicians and bereaucrats to show support for Alberta’s hardworking, risk taking, threatened private sector”
Canadian Tax Federation director Franco Terrazzano supported Barnes.
“”MLA Barnes deserves a lot of credit for asking his colleagues to share in the difficult times and accept a 20 per cent pay cut,” said Terrazzano.
“Albertans are struggling, and this would show taxpayers that our elected officials are willing to share in the tough times and understand the difficulties that we are going through.”
The Premier’s office released a statement saying the premier had already taken a substantial pay cut, as did the MLAS.
“Combining the most recent cut with the Prentice-era reduction, the Premier and MLAs have taken an approximate 15% and 10% cut respectively,” said the spokesperson of the premier’s office.
“In addition, MLAs declined cost of living/inflation adjustments. Political staff also recently took a pay cut.”
Earlier in the pandemic political leaders in New Zealand did something similar, said Terrazzano. New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced that she, her government ministers, and public service chief executives were taking a 20 per cent pay cut for the next six months.
“It’s worth noting that the salary of New Zealand’s PM prior to its temporary cut was approximately $424,000 Canadian dollars. The Premier of Alberta earns roughly 40% that,” said Kenney’s spokesperson in an email.
With Files from Gillian Slade, Alta. Newspaper Group