Alberta Legislature committee wins dubious award
Matt Nodge, ctvedmonton.ca
Published Wednesday, March 7, 2012 7:09PM MST
An Alberta government committee has won a less than prestigious national award.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation announced their annual Teddy Award winners for wasteful government spending Wednesday. One of the recipients is the Alberta Government's Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, Standing Orders and Printing Committee.
Legislature records show the 21 member Standing Committee has not had a meeting since the fall of 2008, yet every MLA in the group has still been receiving at least $1000.00 a month in committee pay.
The official mandate of the committee is to deal with questions of privilege in Alberta Legislature such as an MLA speaking French on the floor of the Assembly as in 1987 - the last time the committee was convened for an issue of this sort.
Scott Hennig with the Taxpayers Federation says his group bestowed the dubious distinction on the group partially because of its paltry meeting record and ongoing cost to Alberta taxpayers. "There are 21 of them so there is lots of space for them, especially when you don't have a meeting room you can fit all these members in committee when you don't have to meet."
Hennig says the committee, which has representatives from all parties in the legislature, has cost Alberta taxpayers nearly a million dollars since its last meeting in 2008.
Committee Chair and conservative MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka, Raymond Prins receives $18,000 in compensation per year for his position as chair of the group, Prins told CTV News Wednesday he wasn't even aware the post was paid, "I'm not even sure if I get paid for this committee."
After being reminded about his compensation Prins suggested the money is justified because there is other work he does that is not compensated for, "Yeah I get paid for this committee but there might be other committees I don't get paid for."
Liberal MLA David Swann who also sits on the committee said he spoke to the Speaker of the Assembly about the standing committee that appears to not do anything. Swann says the speaker told him, "If you have a problem, deal with it as you wish."
Swann says he has been donating the $1000.00 a month of committee pay to charity.
Wildrose MLA Guy Boutilier, representing the riding of Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, and a member of the committee admitted that it is a "total waste of tax dollars."
Premier Allison Redford is in the U.S and was not available for comment. The premier did however announce last fall that a review into MLA pay and compensation will be conducted.
The MLA's on the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, Standing Orders and Printing Committee include:
- Raymond Prins (Lacombe-Ponoka)
- MLA's on the committee include:
- Lloyd Snelgrove (Vermilion-Lloydminster)
- Moe Amery (Calgary-East)
- Guy Boutilier (Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo)
- Pearl Calahasen (Lesser Slave Lake)
- Alan DeLong (Calgary-Bow)
- Arno Doerksen (Strathmore-Brooks)
- Heather Forsyth (Calgary-Fish Creek)
- Broyce Jacobs (Cardston-Taber-Warner)
- Mel Knight (Grande Prairie-Smoky)
- Genia Leskiw (Bonnyville-Cold Lake)
- Barry McFarland (Little Bow)
- Leonard Mitzel (Cypress-Medicine Hat)
- Rachel Notley (Edmonton-Strathcona)
- Bridget A. Pastoor (Lethbbridge-East)
- Dave Quest (Strathcona)
- Dr. David Swann (Calgary-Mountain View)
- Janis Tarchuk (Banff-Cochrane)
- Dave Taylor (Calgary-Currie)
- Gene Zwozdesky (Edmonton-Mill Cree)
- Former Premier Ed Stelmach (Fort Sasktchewan-Vegreville)
With files from Kevin Armstrong