Wildrose MLAs donating pay increase to charity
Alberta: Opposition party establishes new foundation
By: Don Patterson
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 20, 2013 06:00 am
As a statement against the pay increase provided to Alberta MLAs members of the Opposition will be passing part of their paycheques on to charity.
The Wildrose Party’s MLAs announced on Monday they have chosen to donate the eight per cent pay increase in compensation legislators received last year to charity.
The party created the Wildrose Caucus Foundation and its MLAs will donate a combined amount of just over $60,000 per year to the foundation which will fund charitable organizations.
“I am proud of every single Wildrose MLA for stepping up and doing the right thing and I look forward to being able to help out hard-working charities that do invaluable work in our communities,” said Danielle Smith, Highwood MLA and Wildrose leader.
The party will announce the first recipient of grants from the fund, and how much will be donated, later this week.
In November the Progressive Conservative dominated member services committee approved increasing total MLA compensation from $145,000 a year to $156,000.
Wildrose MLAs, who have now committed to donate the increase to charity, opposed the increase.
The new foundation is co-chaired by Wildrose MLAs Kerry Towle and Bruce McAllister and will be directed by a committee of six others. MLAs will donate a similar amount each year.
Smith has asked MLAs from all parties who didn’t agree with the pay changes to follow the lead of the Wildrose party and either donate the increase to charity or contribute to the new foundation.
“We believe this money was never rightfully ours,” she said. “We are simply giving it back to the front lines. We hope others decide to join us.”
Wildrose spokesperson Vitor Marciano said to make a bigger impact on the charities they choose to support the party elected to create one foundation rather than allowing each member to donate their increases to local causes within their ridings.
“If you split the money 17 different ways, you’re limited in what you can do with it,” he said.
The foundation will make annual contributions to charitable organizations that provide services in the areas of health care, education and justice.