EDMONTON — The Alberta Progressive Conservatives are ordering their government members to return some of the money they were paid for sitting on a committee that hasn’t met in nearly four years.
Tory Whip Robin Campbell says that government MLAs will repay six months’ worth, dating back to when Alison Redford took over as premier.
“The premier, during her campaign this summer, talked about change and about the issue of MLA compensation,” Campbell told a news conference Tuesday. “We felt as a caucus that going back to when she made her commitment, that was prudent.”
But Liberal Leader Raj Sherman said the move is a slap in the face to all Albertans.
He said he has paid back more than $43,000 he earned on the all-party committee and noted Wildrose party members have also paid back every cent.
Campbell denied the move had anything to do with the fact Redford is preparing to call an election.
“We talked about it in caucus and we thought it was the right thing to do,” he said. “This is a discussion we’ve had — we understood what was going on out there. I think that all of our MLAs work very hard.
“People were willing to give the money back. We have a very united caucus.”
The situation was drawn to public attention by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation which singled out the committee for its Teddy Waste Award recently.
The federation noted that each of the committee’s 21 members received $1,000 a month for work on the panel, even though it hadn’t met since 2008. The federation estimated the cost of the committee at $261,000 a year.