Veteran Tory Kowalski won’t seek re-election

EDMONTON — Another longtime Conservative is retiring from politics.

EDMONTON — Another longtime Conservative is retiring from politics.

Ken Kowalski was first elected in 1979 and has been Speaker of the legislature since 1997.

Premier Alison Redford issued a statement Friday about Kowalski not running for office in the next election.

She said he served as Speaker with “endless grace and dignity” and also brought a depth of knowledge to the legislature and applied it to the benefit of all Albertans.

Kowalski, who is 66, is MLA for Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock.

Other Tory veterans not running for re-election are Ron Liepert, Iris Evans, Ed Stelmach and Lloyd Snelgrove.

According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Liepert will collect nearly $350,000 dollars after serving just two terms in office, while Stelmach will get over $1 million and Kowalski gets more than $1.2 million.

The government abolished MLA pension plans years ago and replaced them with transition allowances. Politicians get three months pay for every year served in office.

Redford has promised to review the compensation for MLAs.

“What we need to do is reset the bar, let’s recalibrate, make sure that all Albertans are happy with what we’re doing as we move forward,” she said.