Wildrose party to donate pay hike earnings
Members of the Wildrose opposition party have announced they will be donating their pay hikes to charitable organizations working in 'priority areas such as healthcare, education and justice.'
The decision by party members, which was unanimous, will see the creation of the Wildrose Caucus Foundation — a registered fund which will make annual donations on behalf of the party.
"We'll be looking for areas in healthcare, education and social services where we feel the government has made a mistake in its prioritizing —so that we can draw some attention to those important causes," said Smith at news conference on Monday.
"And if the government's not going to fund it, perhaps by our leadership, we'll be able to encourage the private sector to step up."
Smith says the fund has already amassed over $60,000.
"We believe this is a constructive way to use money that we believe no MLA should be receiving," said Wildrose MLA Kerry Towle in the news release.
This announcement comes in the wake of the opposition’s earlier assessment that all provincial MLAs were given an 8% pay hike in November 2012 — an opinion which has been disputed by members of the Redford government.
The Wildrose party claims the pay hike saw MLAs salaries jump from $145,000 to $156,000 per year.
However, Redford’s government says these figures are misleading as they include RRSP contributions.
Smith is asking that any other MLAs who are similarly opposed the speculated pay hike to refuse the hike, donate it, or contribute it to her party’s foundation.
However, Alberta Liberal Leader Raj Sherman thinks that MLAs need to stop talking about their salaries.
"MLA pay must be independently set, and independently determined. MLAs have to stop talk talking about MLA pay."
"We already have tabled legislation so MLAs no longer have to set their pay." said Sherman. "A panel of citizens would work with a judge under the legislative assembly and they set our pay moving forward."
The first recipient of the Wildrose Caucus Foundation will be announced later this week.