Redford announces full pay-back of 'no meet' committee pay
Published Thursday, March 29, 2012 5:17PM MDT
At a stop in west Edmonton Thursday, PC Leader Alison Redford admitted she made a mistake, and promised change on two major issues.
Redford said all PC MLAs involved in a committee that has not met since 2008, are expected to pay back the entire amount they had been paid for being part of the committee.
"All Progressive Conservative MLAs will be expected to pay back every penny of the money received from the committee that has not met since 2008," Redford said. "Any MLAs who do not, will not have a place in our Progressive Conservative caucus."
Previously, PC MLAs had only been required to return what they were paid over the last six months.
In addition to the announcement over committee pay, Redford also announced that generous transition allowances have been suspended.
"The overly generous transition allowances that are paid to retiring MLAs are suspended from this day forward," Redford said.
Currently, retiring MLAs are given three-months pay for each year they worked in the legislature – with no maximum amount – so some retiring members have walked away with over one million dollars.
Redford also mentioned she would not take a transition allowance if she is not re-elected.
"It's taken awhile for her to come around on it, but we are happy that she has," Scott Hennig with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation said. "This has been an issue that has been annoying Albertans."
On the other hand, Redford's opponents said she waited too long to pay the money back.
"It's too little too late," Liberal Leader Raj Sherman said. "It smells of desperation."
"It's clearly full panic mode," Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said. "It's remarkable that it took a drastic drop in the polls to convince Ms. Redford to do the right thing."
A poll completed by ThinkHQ for CTV News found the PC Party had suffered in the eyes of voters over the issue, and other parties who had chosen to return all of the money had made gains.
The Wildrose and Liberal parties both returned all of the money and in the survey were the only ones who would have potentially gained support for the way the controversy was handled.
The PCs had originally paid back six months-worth of compensation and according to the poll lost 23 per cent of support.
Meanwhile, the NDP have refused to pay anything back, and have suffered according to the poll, with a drop in support of more than 50 per cent.
"It would assume that simply because your name is on that committee, you haven't earned your compensation," NDP Leader Brian Mason said. "That's not the case."
For Redford, she believes her change in stance is the right step.
"Leadership is about making decisions, sometimes difficult decisions, and sometimes admitting that you were wrong."
With files from Sonia Sunger