Scrambling to balance damage control with party unity on the eve of an election call, MLA’s in Premier Alison Redford‘s Tory caucus are returning pay earned over the past six months from the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections. The committee has not met since 2008, yet MLAs serving on the committee have collected $1,000 per month over that period of time.
After collecting an estimated $18,000 per year as chairman of the committee, sources say that PC MLA Ray Prins has resigned as the PC candidate in Lacombe-Ponoka.
The move highlights how big a political problem this issue has become for the governing party. Last week, members of the caucus were directed by Premier Redford to take significant pay cuts, which the Tories hoped would help quash the issue. Despite attempts quash the issue, fifteen Tory MLAs are now having to write cheques for the past six months of this committee pay. Rather than repay the full amount collected, six months may be the best that Premier Redford could afford to ask for (I can imagine more than a few Tory MLA’s are feeling a some angst and hostility about how this issue was handled).
Some Opposition MLAs pledged to return the pay after the committee’s absence became public weeks ago. After briefly taking a stand defending the most unpopular position he could under the circumstances, Calgary-Glenmore Wildrose Party MLA Paul Hinman agreed to repay the funds, as did Calgary-Fish Creek Wildrose MLA Heather Forsyth. Liberal leader Raj Sherman cut a cheque for $44,000 to return funds collected from his time as a PC MLA on the committee. Only one opposition MLA, Calgary-Mountain View Liberal David Swann, refused the pay from the beginning, donating it to charity instead.
The end of publicly funded religious education? Amen.
Grande Prairie and District Catholic School chairman Ralph Wohlgemuth calls the new Education Act the beginning of the demise of Catholic education in Alberta, according to the Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune. The Act would allow for the creation of blended school boards, in which both public and Catholic trustees would sit. In an attempt to address crowded schools in many districts across the province, the new Act would give school districts the ability to share space.
Earlier this week, thousands of parents pulled their home-schooled children away from their kitchen tables to protest in front of the Assembly against changes included in the new Education Act.
Meet Ken Hughes dot com
In Calgary-West, Wildrose candidate Andrew Constantinidis is attacking PC candidate Ken Hughes with a new website MeetKenHughes.com. The attack website includes some particularly nasty accusations against the former Conservative Member of Parliament and Alberta Health Services chairman. The emergence of these ads suggests that some Wildrose Party candidates may go to great lengths, and into great depths of negativity, in their campaign against the PCs in the upcoming election.
UPDATE: The videos attacking Mr. Hughes appear to have been taken down from Mr. Constantinidis’ website, likely due to copyright infringement because they used video taken from network television news.
27 replies on “tories scramble into damage control mode over no-work committee pay and mla resignation.”
Need to add Marz to list. He wasn’t going to run, but apparently has resigned.
So by my math this means only the Alberta Party has not given the money back or offered an explanation.
You guys must be proud.
Damage Control too little too late !! One thing I agree with is the blended school boards…
The wheels in the WR Bus might have been making a lot of news early in the week but the wheels are falling off the PC Bus by their own hand. It is too bad to see the US style gutter style politics creeping into our province. My suggestion to the WR….the PC Government is doing your job for you with one faux pas after the other, there is no need to use attack ads and negativity….all parties should campaign on policies not personalities.
Negative ads are only negative to those who are the target of truth. When the truth hurts, it cannot be classified as negative – to some letting the sunshine into the dark corners is positive.
Having said that, we must remain committed to calling the part(ies) out when corruption or arrogance or other policy gaffes affect them, as long as you do not make personal attacks. Calling someone pigs at the trough is not negative, it is the truth.
The truth seems to be negotiable with the PC’s and heaven forbid being accountable for past actions. The bus objection is simply juvenile yet slightly humorous and if that is the only beef folks have with the WR then I guess it is good to go for them. If Madonna were the head and shoulders folks would be praising the creativity of the designer.
The Employment Standards department in Alberta has a policy that if an employer overpays an employee, they can only recover overpayments made in the past 6 months. This applies to all employers in Alberta. And let us not forget MLAs are our employees. So seems fair to me.
Dave, you make a great point about the depths of negativity that the Wildrose will sink to. The public has had enough of this.
Fixed Wing Goose wrote:
“So by my math this means only the Alberta Party has not given the money back or offered an explanation.
You guys must be proud.”
You’re forgetting the saintly Ms. Notley – haven’t heard anything from her about paying it back. Rather, she’s been spouting the Redford excuse, i.e. I didn’t actually get paid for that committee – I got paid for all the other ones.
Frankly, I’m not surprised at Notley’s approach – certainly, her fervent supporters in the public sector unions must be scratching their heads at what all the fuss about getting paid to do nothing is about.
Although from your sly and snide comments about the Education Act amendments you appear to applaud them, Daveberta, they represent another thing the Tories are going to have to go into damage control over.
Your – and what you probably consider to be the majority of Albertans’- perception is that Albertans will support the amendments if they are spun as, indeed, you yourself have spun them, i.e. they start a process culminating in the “de-funding” of public “religious schools” (in fact, such schools get the same per student funding as non-religious public schools – the “religious” aspect is funded by parental contributions) because of course the evil that has rampaged since parental choice was introduced into the Alberta public education system is patent and undeniable.
What you and REDford and the ATA perhaps don’t appreciate is that the amendments entrench a whole new set of values into the delivery of primary education into this province, the values of that most august of public institutions, the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Hate to break the news, but this won’t, in fact, resonate with most Albertans, or at least anyone familiar with Boissoin v. Lund, 2009 ABQB 592 and marching Ted Morton out again to explain it all to his “people” isn’t going to change that.
Fixed Wing Goose, I believe that Rachel Notley has also refused to repay the money.
Rachel Notley, I believe, serves on 5 such committees and according to the rules only gets paid for 3. (I heard this on CBC this morning.) Some of the Tory MLAs may also have served on more than 3 committees, so they may be justified in keeping their pay. (As much as I would like to condemn the lot, sometimes facts get in the way.)
Dave Taylor also serves on 4 committees, and got paid, like everyone else, for 3.
I think the scandal we should be talking about is where town councilors and college administrators felt obliged to attend Tory fund raisers (golf tourneys, banquets) and expense the three digit ticket price back to their employers. Over the years this amounts to tax payer money (hundreds of thousands?) going into the Tory war chest. Think about that when you see Redford’s fancy bus. You helped pay for it. All those glossy pamphlets and signs. All those ads. That’s your municipal property taxes. That’s income tax you pay to Ottawa, it gets transferred to the Alberta Government, who subsidizes Athabasca University, who spin it back to the Provincial Tories.
“I think the scandal we should be talking about is where town councilors and college administrators felt obliged to attend Tory fund raisers…”
It’s starting to look as if there won’t be enough days in the election campaign to discuss all the scandals:
As a senior, As a Albertan, I am furious that MLA’s have so constructed what they do that they can in effect get paid for doing nothing. Whitewashing this bay saying they serve on this or that committee over and above is bull Crap. Pay is what you get for doing work, no work no pay. I guess if we have trouble in this province it is because of bad management, the taxpayers are already working six months to fill their tax obligations and here we have MLA’s getting something for nothing, tax free benefits, and the Premier has selective memory about what is right. Alberta needs to clean out the rats nest left behind and start fresh. Disgusted.
Curious to see Alberta Tories claim “entitlement”. This is exactly the kind of thing that led to the federal Liberals’ demise, and it comes from the same source: far too long in power, without a credible opposition.
People obviously need to be reminded how politics works in Alberta. The Premier visits the LG on a Sunday to ask them to dissolve the current government and call for an election. The writ is dropped on Monday and 28 days (always 28 days and on a Monday in Alberta) later the vote takes place.
So, expect Alison Redford to visit the LG on Sunday, March 25, the writ to drop on Monday, March 26 and election day to be Monday, April 23rd.
Wildrose – Not ready for prime time.
Marie; I don’t disagree that Monday is the most likely day, but there’s nothing that says an election has to be on a Monday. It could theoretically be any day of the week as long as it’s not a holiday. In 1997, for example, it was a Tuesday.
If what the Conservative caucus did yesterday is “damage control”, wonder what they think is something that creates a worse situation.
As many people have said, they would have been better off staying with their initial “we did nothing wrong’ stance. Still not right, but at least consistent.
Tonight on the doors, lots and lots of derision over the partial payback.
Several people told me that they are Conservatives but having serious second thoughts this time around.
Not one household said they were definitely voting Conservative.
And this is in a traditionally strong Conservative riding.
It just got worse-181 million of non budgeted money (but the budget is in the past, right)?
The Rrogance is really quite unbelievable.
And I went to Hansard to see the vote on the budget -23 PC MLA’s there. Conspicuously absent, the Premier and the Finance Minister
Why is truth considered negative ??/ or are you scared of truth .
Sun poll today confirms the gap bewteen the PC Party and the Wild Rose Party has narrowed dramatically – 34% PC, 29% Wild Rose – with a margin of error of 3.2%. Close to potential dead heat.
It appears Albertans are, perhaps, tiring of a party which keeps putting their hands in the tax payer cookie jar.
Using $107 million in tax-payer dollars to acquire teacher’s votes in the leadership race comes to mind – which amount, coincidentally, was tacked onto municipal tax rolls in the recent “no new tax” budget.
On Sunday, February 9, Ralph Klein visited the LG to ask to dissolve the government and call for a general election. Since Monday, February 10, was the Family Day holiday, that day couldn’t be counted in the writ period so the writ period actually began on Tuesday, February 11. As a result, election day was 28 days later on Tuesday, March 11.
Monday, March 12, 2001 (Klein visited the LG on Sunday, February 11 and the writ dropped Monday, February 12.)
Monday, November 22, 2004 (Klein visited the LG on Sunday, October 24 and the writ dropped Monday, October 25.)
Monday, March 3, 2008 (Stelmach visited the LG on Sunday, February 3 and the writ was dropped on Monday, February 4.)
So, this is what we learned.
The Alberta provincial election writ period is only and always 28 days.
The Premier visits the LG on the Sunday before the writ drop to request the government be dissolved and to call for an election.
Unless the first day of the writ (Monday) is a holiday, the provincial vote always takes place on a Monday.
For an indication of how the PC Party two-step is going over in Lacombe Ponoka constituency, read the letters to the editor in the Lacombe Globe and then look up what positions in the P.C. Party the letter writers used to hold.
[…] Steve Christie in Lacombe-Ponoka. Last week, Mr. Christie replaced two-term MLA Ray Prins, who resigned after it was revealed he was being paid to chair a legislative committee that had not met in four […]