Edmonton

Pay cuts for premier, MLAs on agenda for committee meeting

A committee of MLAs will discuss cutting their own salaries Tuesday, taking a step toward fulfilling an election promise made by the United Conservative Party.

Jason Kenney promised during the election to cut his own salary by 10 per cent

Premier Jason Kenney says the UCP majority on the members' services committee is expected to approve cuts to MLA salaries on Tuesday. (Amber Bracken/The Canadian Press)

A committee of MLAs will discuss cutting their own salaries Tuesday, taking a step toward fulfilling an election promise made by the United Conservative Party.

Jason Kenney said during a Facebook Live event last week that the 11 UCP and NDP MLAs on the special standing committee on members' services will look at dropping MLA salaries by five per cent and the premier's by 10 per cent. 

The Alberta premier said he expects the UCP majority on the committee to pass the motion.

"We'll be keeping our commitment to do that within the first three months," he said.

With Kenney earning $206,856, a 10-per-cent cut would take his pay to $186,170. Annual salaries for MLAs would go from $127,296 to $120,931. 

Kenney faced criticism for being slow in making good on his campaign promise, particularly after his government introduced Bill 9, legislation to delay wage arbitration talks for 180,000 public sector workers until the end of October. 

Decisions on MLA salaries rest with the members services committee, which has met only once since the April 16 election. 

Committee member Thomas Dang, NDP MLA for Edmonton South, said he and his caucus colleagues will support the motion. But he thinks the move is Kenney's way of setting the stage for what could be coming this fall. 

"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. 

Kenney said the committee will also discuss Tuesday another UCP promise to end a policy that allows MLAs to claim a per-kilometre allowance for their own vehicles while also having taxpayers pay for their gas and minor maintenance expenses. 

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