Alberta premier and cabinet take five per cent wage reduction; Wildrose unimpressed

In a snap press conference late Thursday afternoon, Alberta Premier Jim Prentice announced he and his cabinet agreed to take a five per cent wage decrease.

He said it was to give an example of fiscal discipline as falling oil prices drive down provincial revenues.

There will also be a motion to the Member Services Committee next week recommending all MLAs accept the same five per cent cutback.

“I think this is the kind of leadership that Albertans expect from their elected officials in these challenging times,” he said.

The total savings equal about $600,000 with individual MLAs cutting around $6,700, $10,050 for ministers and $10,887 for the premier himself.

The cuts to the premier and cabinet are effective immediately and Prentice said he’d deal with his personal office separately.

He was also asked if austerity measures will apply to deputy ministers and other bureaucrats.

“I think it’s fair to say the discussions will involve everyone who is paid by the citizens of Alberta,” he said. “Albertans are beginning to see and feel the consequences of low oil prices and the effect on our economy, they expect people who work for the government, whether we are elected or whether we are people who are employees to share part of that burden.”

Prentice said cabinet was unanimous in support and he suspects other parties will be supportive of the measures as well.

While the Wildrose Party says they welcome any cut to cabinet ministers pay, the official opposition’s interim leader Heather Forsyth said she’s disappointed the premier didn’t take real action on bloated compensation packages.

“Total compensation for cabinet ministers should immediately be rolled back by 30 per cent and adjusted for inflation to 2008 levels,” she said in a statement. “MLA wages should also immediately be rolled back by a full 8 per cent to where they were before the PCs rewarded themselves with an extra $11,000 in the fall of 2012.”

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