I suppose Albertans are supposed to be grateful about the proposed voluntary salary freeze by PC MLAs? But just how seriously should we take this move?
It was only 8 months ago, when the price of oil was rolling high, that Premier Ed Stelmach and his Cabinet gave themselves a 30% to 34% pay hike in a closed-door meeting where Ministers hiked their salaries by $42,000, to $184,000, and Stelmach’s by $54,000, to $213,450 (making Stelmach the highest paid Premier in Canada). As far as I can’t remember, none of the 71 other PC MLAs publicly questioned the pay hike.
Albertans may also remember that in another closed-door Cabinet meeting nearly a year ago, Stelmach and his cabinet changed Alberta’s proposed conflict-of-interest rules so that they wouldn’t apply to any PC Ministers retiring or defeated after the March 3, 2008 election. This decision was made behind closed doors only hours before Stelmach called the 2008 election, and exempted out-going Ministers such as former Finance Minister Lyle Oberg and Energy Minister Greg Melchin.
So, when I hear Premier Stelmach tell Albertans that PC MLAs are “going to show leadership in this regard,” I can’t help but wonder why they didn’t start showing leadership a year ago?