Premier Brad Wall was the only premier in the country who was still receiving a stipend from his party, but just before spring session Monday, he asked his party to stop providing the stipend.
Premier Brad Wall released the following statement on Monday asking the Saskatchewan Party to discontinue the leader’s allowance.
“The Saskatchewan Party has had a policy of providing a leader’s allowance dating back to its first elected leader. In part, the allowance was to assist with party-related expenses of the leader as well as a salary supplement,” the statement read.
“I supported the policy prior to being a leader and have received the allowance as leader. However, to the extent there are any negative perceptions about what this allowance might imply for the office of Premier, the government, or for the party – I have asked the Party for its complete discontinuation.”
The premier was collecting $37,000 a year annually from the Sask. Party, on top of a $166,137, including a $96,183 base salary and an additional allowance of $69,954.
Out of the 13 premiers, Wall now has the ninth highest salary.
Wall is believed to be the last premier to get such a salary supplement.
British Columbia Premier Christy Clark said in January that she would no longer get her Liberal party’s $50,000 annual stipend.
“While the party would certainly be happy to continue this practice, Premier Wall has indicated to me that he does not want misperceptions around this stipend to damage the image of the party or government and has asked that it be discontinued,” Saskatchewan Party President James Thorsteinson said in a Facebook post.
Interim NDP Leader Trent Wotherspoon figures Wall has collected about $500,000 over the years.
“Seriously, it took half a million dollars for the premier to figure out this is wrong?” said Wotherspoon.
“It’s been offensive and wrong from the get-go. It should have been scrapped a long time ago. It never should have happened, and I guess, you know this is recognition of it being wrong.”
Wotherspoon said the government also needs to get big money out of Saskatchewan politics.
There are no donation limits for contributing to registered political parties or candidates in Saskatchewan; however, donations can only be made by Canadian citizens.
The Opposition has long said Saskatchewan’s political donation laws are the weakest in the country and say they often are described as the Wild West.
Last November, Wotherspoon said it’s time to stop corporate, union and out-of-province donations, and called for a cap on individual contributions.
The Saskatchewan Party has received nearly $30 million in donations over the last decade and about 10 per cent came from corporations with headquarters outside Saskatchewan.
Wall said the political process and how elections are financed has served the province well, “so we don’t see any changes required to election finance.”
With files from Jennifer Graham, The Canadian Press
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