Click here to email Brenton Driedger
The man behind the MLA pay review is defending his recommendations.
Former Supreme Court of Canada Justice John Major stood by his report Thursday morning, a day after putting forward 11 recommendations (.pdf) for MLA salaries, pensions, and allowances.
One contentious issue is the idea that politicians get part of their salary tax-free. But Major says that falls under federal tax law and getting rid of it would mean a significant pay cut.
"That means that you'd have to take their present $112,000 and add an amount to it to bring it up to what they're being paid, so that they could pay the additional taxes," says Major. "And it means that the province of Alberta, in additional taxes, would send approximately $2 million to Revenue Canada."
Major says he heard feedback from some who said the tax-free allowance was not transparent enough, but Major says it's pretty easy to understand. And if you want to change it, take it up with the federal government. He also maintains that Premier Alison Redford deserves a raise, calling for her salary to go up to $335,000 in three years, despite Redford's insistence that she won't take the money.
"If the premier doesn't see her job as being worth what I've recommended, she's perfectly free to not accept it," says Major. "I didn't write this report with any eye on what politicians thought of it."
But Major adds it seems strange to him that the premier of a province is paid less than the chief justice of a province. (bd)