Alberta Premier announces pay cut for him and his Executive Team
The Progressive Conservative Party, has been in power for 40 years in Alberta. The primary reason is that there hasn't been a viable opposition, especially in the leadership department of both the Liberal and New Democratic Party.
Premier Ed Stelmach and his Conservative Party won the last election, winning 72 seats of 83 seats in the last election held in March 2008.
Alberta has come through a period of relative prosperity, largely due to the oil industry and in large part the Oil Sands near Fort McMurray.
This year, for the first time in 13 years, Alberta is running a deficit in its budget. This has caused the Government to make cuts, starting with health care and then construction projects. One recent cut was Senior Long Term Care Centre in Fort McMurray that had been promised. This ended up in a major clash between one of Premier Stelmach's Ministers and the Premier. The Minster was kicked out of the Conservative caucus.
Recently the Wildrose Alliance, an alternate conservative party, has emerged. Latest polls have shown them almost neck to neck with Stelmach's party. This has caused Premier Stelmach to address the Province last night laying out his program and the way ahead to the public.
Stelmach is up for a leadership review by his party next month. The former Premier, Ralph Klein, has set the stakes quite high and stated that Stelmach needed at least 70% approval to continue as leader after he review.
After the speech yesterday, Stelmach announced a paycut of 5% for himself and his ministers. They gave themselves a 30% pay raise in 2008. Stelmach cuts do not affect their regular legislators pay, but only the bonus they receive for being Ministers. The Premier will still gross $200,000. Not bad for a province of a little over 3 Million people. (I think that's about half of what Barrack Obama gets and he carries the world on his shoulders).
Based on blogs and comments I have read this afternoon, this did not impress Albertans. Stelmach will have a difficult time regaining public trust and may be on his way out as Premier.
Following Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach's television address Wednesday evening, he's announced that he and his senior executive team are taking pay cuts effective immediately.
High-ranking government officials will reduce their pay, lead by Stelmach who's overall pay will be reduced by about five per cent, which is cut of about $12,000. The premier will now earn just over $200,000.
Ministers will also have their pay reduced, and will take home about $6,000 less. The rollbacks only apply to the extra pay Stelmach and cabinet ministers receive for their senior positions, not on their base MLA pay.
"They gave themselves a 30 per cent pay hike in the summer of 2008 so it's tough to applaud them but it is a step in the right direction," said Scott Hennig with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
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