Ah, to be a politician in Alberta

Apparently Alberta’s financial largess has extended itself to municipal politicians. It’s my understanding that a municipal politician in Moncton gets virtually nothing – a few measily bucks for dedicating a lot of time and effort to the public good.

Not so, in Edmonton. Now, of course, Edmonton is four times larger than Moncton but according to this disgruntled journalist, they are getting paid too much.

Account for their one-third tax-free salaries and one-third tax-free allowances, and councillors will take home the equivalent of $103,080 per year.

Who wouldn’t want to get a $520-per-month car allowance?

The RRSP allowance, which went up to $7,720 per year last week and increases again after the next election to $8,606 per year.

His conclusion?

Which, of course, is what I hope to do after the next civic election – join the ranks of the elite in Canada by pulling down a salary and benefits package that will net me more than what 98% of Canadians from coast to coast earn.

Now I have to admit being actually conflicted by this as I am under the undoubtedly ridiculous premise that you ‘get what you pay for’ when ‘hiring’ staff or politicians.

But, then again, Bernard Lord is the highest paid Premier in Canada.

Makes you stop and think.

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0 Responses to Ah, to be a politician in Alberta

  1. Anonymous says:

    Only here would people think that ‘higher pay makes better politicians’. In Switzerland, municipal politicians do not get any salary at all. As I’ve said elsewhere, In New Hampshire and Vermont even state legislators make only $600 per week-and only when they are sitting, which is about six months. If you think that the exhorbitant salaries provincial MLA’s make has ‘made New Brunswick better’, I suggest you take a look at the decisions government actually makes and how they make them.

    In New Hampshire they have close to 200 legislators who vote, vs. the 58 in New Brunswick. If people are dumb enough to think that fewer politicians are MORE representative, they obviously don’t know their neighbours very well.

    Keep in mind that in the states they have four times as many representatives, yet they do it all for far less money. I can’t remember the figures, but it costs New Brunswickers millions more to pay their representatives, who essentially exist to rubber stamp decisions that other people have made.

    Go find one issue where a party member voted away from their party. At the municipal level it is ludicrous, as municipal politicians have very few powers or issues they can deal with at all. Zoning, fire departments, that is essentially it. In the states, municipal politicians have far reaching powers of taxation, even sales tax depends on what town you live in.

    The idea that paying these people more money will bring in a better politician is ludicrous to the extreme. Politics is a civic duty, when people start doing it for the money, you’ve essentially lost what democracy is supposed to be about.

    To return to Switzerland, even at the federal level politicians have no staff, and work at a table in the vestibule of their parliament building. They get no pension, no office, use all equipment communally.

    If you actually think that here in New Brunswick, or even in Canada, that the relatively high wages has brought about representative decisions, even better decisions, I would seriously challenge you to debate that fact.

    Canada has essentially become what the soviet union used to be, the exception is you get to select a different person or party, but they will generally act in an identical way. I already know people who would do anything for a government job-which is what the soviet union used to be like. In politics, once you make it about money, well, forget ANY illusions you may have had about democracy.