7.25% pay increase for Alberta legislative officers reversed

WATCH ABOVE: Six high-ranking officers of the legislature won't be getting a pay raise after all. Tom Vernon has the details.

EDMONTON — Six officers of the Alberta Legislature will not be getting a pay raise after all.

Last week, the NDP majority on the Standing Committee on Legislative Offices approved a 7.25 per cent pay hike for people like the auditor general and privacy commissioner, despite the opposition by the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative members.

Committee Chair Denise Woollard said after the decision was made she heard from a number of colleagues and constituents and decided that a mistake had been made.

Woollard reconvened the committee Tuesday afternoon to reverse the decision. She said MLAs are currently in the midst of a pay freeze and the government members will recommend that these officers of the legislature also have their pay frozen for the time being.

“During the election we promised Albertans that if we made a mistake, we would be honest, we would admit it, and we would fix it. That’s what we’re doing,” Woollard said in a statement Tuesday.

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Woollard apologized for the move and said there are lessons to be learned from this situation.

“Listen really carefully to people around us, calling some constituents, think carefully about the fiscal realities of Alberta at this point in time and see what can really be afforded.”

At the same meeting last week, the majority NDP members approved travel to Boston for four members for a conference on government ethics in December. After public outcry about that, Woollard said it will also be proposed that no members attend the conference. That proposal was passed Tuesday afternoon.

“At a time like this when thousands of Albertans are losing their job, now is not the time to be spending resources on these sort of perks of the job,” said Wildrose MLA Nathan Cooper. “We were trying to help then, we’re trying to help today, when it comes to pointing them in the right direction and ensuring that taxpayers and Albertans are respected.”

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