The announcement was made by UCP Leader Jason Kenney at the close of the party’s election readiness conference in Edmonton that showcased the UCP’s 81 nominated candidates as a “new generation of leadership.”
“Because of the NDP’s out-of-control spending, we are going deeper into debt by the day. Albertans want a government that will restore fiscal responsibility to our province and that has to start at the top,” said Kenney.
These reductions would be on top of the five per cent MLA pay cuts that were imposed in 2015 by the Prentice government, in addition to a six-year MLA salary freeze that began in 2013.
“To be clear – this show of leadership does not mean that a future UCP government will be seeking salary rollbacks in the broader public sector,” Kenney said.
“Our goal is to balance the budget in four years by reigniting Alberta’s economy, while holding overall spending at current levels. We believe that our great public servants can help us do that by building a high-performance government that eliminates waste and inefficiency, with more choice and competition in the delivery of services. But there will be difficult choices ahead, and that’s why it’s important for our future caucus to show this kind of leadership in restraining our own salaries.”
Kenney also pledged to end a perk for elected members which allows MLAs to claim fuel and minor maintenance expenses for private vehicles, in addition to a per-kilometre allowance.
“We can’t justify perks like this, especially at a time when 170,000 Albertans are out of work, and so many others have taken big cuts in their take home pay,” Kenney said. “The time for real leadership is now.”
“Our entire team of candidates has endorsed these measures, a strong sign of how this new generation of leadership is ready to put the province first,” Kenney remarked.
Today’s announcement followed on last week’s release of the UCP’s democratic reform platform, which included a commitment to MLA recall, greater use of free votes, capping donations to political action committees, and barring governments from running partisan political ads.
These proposed 2019 cuts in political pay, are in addition to the February 2015 reduction of five percent for MLAs announced by the late Jim Prentice, and come after a five-year freeze on legislative salaries.
The combined effect of both reductions is an almost 15 percent cut in the Premier’s salary and a nearly 10 percent cut in MLA pay.
The dollar effect of both reductions (February 2015 + January 2019) will be:
- $31,579.60 less for the Premier, who would now earn $186,170.40.
- $19,603 less for ministers and for the Leader of the Official Opposition, who would now receive $181,396.80.
- $13,068.80 less for MLAs, who would now earn $120,931.20.
Savings from legislative salary reductions would amount to approximately $1.6 million.