This week, Jason Kenney's UCP government is back in Edmonton for the first time in months.
So what was their first priority upon returning to the Legislature?
Was it fixing Alberta's healthcare system, dealing with the pandemic, restoring Albertans' civil liberties, or maybe finally getting government spending under control?
Nope, in fact, while everyone was distracted by Alberta's municipal elections on Monday, the UCP forced through a pay increase for one of their MLAs.
Yep, you read that right!
Meet Joseph Schow, the government's "Deputy Government House Leader".
He's the guy that helps out the guy that organizes the Legislature's schedule, and such.
As an MLA, Joseph Schow earns $120,936 per year - about $10,000 a month.
Remember though, that's before benefits - and the benefits are extensive.
In fact, even excluding benefits and bonuses, Alberta MLAs are by far the highest-paid provincial politicians in Canada.
Alberta MLAs make 20% more than the average provincial politician, and 62% more than provincial MLAs in Prince Edward Island!
Joseph Schow and the UCP decided, however, that this isn't enough for a "Deputy Government House Leader".
They decided that he needs an extra $12,096 a year - more than $1,000 extra per month - as a bonus for taking on this arduous role.
What on earth are they thinking?
Maybe the UCP genuinely think that Joseph Schow deserves a raise?
Maybe they don't think a $12,000 pay hike is a big deal?
It's only a 10% bump, right - everyone in Alberta's been getting one of those recently, right?
But then, why sneak this pay hike through on Monday when everyone was distracted by the municipal election?
Whatever the reasons, the government needs to undo this decision immediately.
It's not actually about the money - $12,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to total government spending.
It's about the principle - our politicians should be setting an example.
Many Albertans have lost their jobs thanks to the current economic downturn and global pandemic.
Many many more have seen their paycheques slashed.
We're not sure any Alberta politicians - Joseph Schow or otherwise - need a pay hike at the best of times.
But they certainly don't need one in the middle of an economic downturn and global pandemic.
The UCP should reverse this pay hike immediately, and freeze all MLAs' pay at least until the economy recovers.
If you agree, please sign this petition for No Politician Pay Hikes, and then share it with your friends, family, and colleagues.
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