Klein’s severance package worth $658,000

Alberta’s former premier topped the list of payouts last year for retired members of the legislature, reports CTV Edmonton.

EDMONTON — Alberta’s former premier topped the list of payouts last year for retired members of the legislature, reports CTV Edmonton.

Ralph Klein received $658,000, even though he retired in 2007.

The numbers rankled some in the province who have recently been laid off and say the money could be put to better use.

“That’s like giving welfare money to the millionaires,” complained Tony Erb.

“That’s too much to give one person, people in Alberta need that money,” said Brian Lethbridge, who is looking for work.

Liberal Leader David Swann said current Premier Ed Stelmach has said he wants to be transparent and accountable and this is an opportunity for him to step up.

“After many years of saying he’s open to it, let’s set up a commission and establish what’s fair and reasonable compensation for politicians.”

In all, nearly $2 million in severance was paid out by the province’s Transitional Allowance program.

Longtime cabinet ministers Clint Dunford and Victor Doerksen both received well over $400,000 for their years of service.

Yellowhead-West member Ivan Strang came in with more than $300,000.

The politicians receive three months pay for each year of service and it’s calculated on their highest earning years.

The money is paid out whether the member is defeated in an election or retires voluntarily.

The government has long said the payments are needed to attract quality people to public service.

There were 29 members who left office last March and according to documents obtained by CTV, many did not receive their severance packages by the end of the fiscal year.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation said another $5.5 million still has to be paid out to such government heavy-weights as Gary Mar, Mike Cardinal and Harvey Cenaiko.

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