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UCP gives one of their own a $12K raise

The position of Deputy Government House leader is normally held by someone in the cabinet and doesn’t come with a pay bump.

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The UCP has found a way to give one of its backbenchers a $12,096 raise.

A Legislature committee on Monday voted to give Deputy Government House Leader Joseph Schow the pay bump — which was immediately condemned by Independent MLAs and the NDP.

“For the past year we have seen Jason Kenney, the least popular premier in Canada, employ every lever at his disposal to both reward his inner circle and punish any who dares to oppose him,” said Independent Central Peace-Notley MLA Todd Loewen.

“This is the kind of cynical politics that the vast majority of Albertans oppose.”

In the Members’ Services Committee meeting, UCP MLA Dan Williams put forward a motion to give Schow, UCP MLA for Cardston-Siksika, a raise for his senior job.

UCP MLAs Nathan Neudorf, Mike Ellis, RJ Sigurdson, Dan Williams and Martin Long voted in for of the raise. All NDP MLAs and Independent MLAs Loewen and Drew Barnes opposed it.

The position of Deputy Government House leader is normally held by someone in the cabinet and doesn’t come with a pay bump. The NDP Opposition House leader receives an extra $15,120 in annual compensation.

The standard pay for Alberta MLAs is $120,936. Cabinet ministers are paid $63,648 on top of that.

In 2019, Kenney’s pay was cut from $206,856 to $186,170. 

“Albertans deserve better, especially during these difficult times,” said Barnes, MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat.

“Earlier this year I chose to voluntarily reduce my pay by donating to local charities, to stand in solidarity with Albertans who lost employment and income as part of Jason Kenney’s lockdowns. For far too many, those hard times haven’t gone away.

“Today the government is threatening long-time employees with the loss of their jobs as part of vaccine mandates that this premier once promised to oppose. That Jason Kenney chose this moment to pad a key supporter’s nest tell you everything you need to know about this premier.”

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation also slammed the raise.

“This is a real kick in the teeth to taxpayers who have had a rough ride through the pandemic,” said Kevin Lacey, the Alberta Director for the CTF.

“The government is trying to use the cover of today’s municipal elections to pull the wool over taxpayers eyes.

“Politicians should not have the power to vote for pay increases for themselves or fellow members of the legislature. What other job can simply ask your buddies for a pay raise and get it? Pay and benefits should be set by a committee of citizens who are impartial and separated from the political process.” 

But the Office of the Government House Leader defended the increase.

“Today’s decision by Member Services Committee is in line with other provinces, including Saskatchewan, Quebec and Nova Scotia where Deputy Government House Leaders also receive additional compensation for the additional work involved. The House of Commons also compensates the Deputy House Leader,” the office said in a statement.

“It is somewhat hypocritical for the NDP to take issue with extra pay for a UCP MLA. The NDP Opposition House leader receives an extra $15,120 in annual compensation. The NDP Chief Opposition Whip and Deputy Opposition Whip receive an additional $9,072 and $7,260, respectively.

“Previously, the Chief Government Whip received a pay top up of $12,096.00. However, the new Whip is concurrently a minister and only receives pay as a minister (i.e. she does not receive separate pay supplement as Whip). 

“In effect, the Government is simply using the unused Chief Government Whip pay for the Deputy House Leader position. Today’s move is resulting in no extra costs for taxpayers. 

“It should also be noted that Premier Kenney took a 10% pay cut in 2019 and MLAs took a 5% pay cut the same year.”

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Andrew Red Deer

    October 19, 2021 at 1:10 pm

    Yes Kenney, Quit or get fired and your best buddies too. Bring the election closer. like tomorrow.

  2. Claudette Leece

    October 19, 2021 at 11:57 am

    There’s no one in that government, worth that a year let alone get that as a raise. Well enjoy it, you will be out next election

  3. Dennis

    October 19, 2021 at 7:41 am

    Jason and Co should all be up for a raise since they have fulfilled their contract obligation to big Pharma, got most of the population vaxed, got rid of all those leper healthcare workers and other scum that were not falling in line. Plus they are doing a marvellous job of killing off people to reduce expenses and pay for their raise.

  4. Joc2257

    October 18, 2021 at 10:19 pm

    LMAO, the NDP critising the pay increases to the UPC and not f their own staff, man oh man how low can these communist go. Don’t get me wrong the UPC are just a despicable the only ones that have any fortitude are the independent MLA’s. they should do the noble thing, ask their constituents if they want them to join the WIPA or IPA, instead of making a mockery of themselves

  5. d.r.cmolloy@gmail.com

    October 18, 2021 at 9:05 pm

    UCP’s final day will come next election.Many people would like it moved up.Are the real members not embarrassed ?

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Sask Polytech ditches vax policy but burdens unvaxxed with testing costs

The Justice Centre is unsatisfied with the response of Sask Polytech and reiterated its intention to pursue legal action against the institution and against the University of Saskatchewan over its requirement for staff and students to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

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By LEE HARDING

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is unsatisfied with the decision of Saskatchewan Polytech to reverse its vaccination requirement for staff and students because the institute does not recognize natural immunity and imposes testing costs on the unvaccinated.

On November 19, the Justice Centre sent Sask Polytech and the University of Saskatchewan letters demanding they reverse their requirement that all staff and students be vaccinated by January 1, 2022. 

On December 1, Sask Polytech reversed its “vaccinated only” policy but now requires unvaccinated staff and students to comply with testing three times a week at their own expense. In a press release, the Justice Centre called this “unacceptable.”

“Such testing requirements for students are even greater than the Saskatchewan government’s requirements for employees of its ministries. Sask Poly has also failed to recognize the compelling scientific evidence of natural immunity for those who have already recovered from Covid-19 and have proof of antibodies,” reads a JCCF press release on Saturday.

“Testing costs, which could exceed $200 per week, mean that only the wealthy and privileged can bear the burden,” stated Andre Memauri, the Justice Centre’s Saskatoon-based lawyer.

“Sask Poly, which has chosen to impose discriminatory testing requirements for staff and students, has the ability to acquire these tests at wholesale cost.”

The Justice Centre said it would commence legal proceedings against Sask Poly in the Court of Queen’s Bench unless Sask Poly immediately absorbs the testing costs and recognizes natural immunity. 

On October 28, the U of S and Sask Polytech announced mandatory vaccinations for all students, staff and faculty, removing the alternative of twice weekly testing which had been in place since the start of the school year. The Justice Centre will also commence legal action against the U of S for refusing unvaccinated students. 

On November 26, Global News reported a 19-year-old student was hospitalized briefly with breathing problems after receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The student’s mother, Michelle Marciniuk, publicly called for the university to reconsider its policy.

The U of S’ policy includes exemptions on medical and religious grounds in accordance with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code. But according to the Justice Centre, the university usually rejects exemption requests or does not respond to them for several weeks. Besides this, the university has made itself the arbiter of faith considerations for religious exemptions. Medical exemptions have become a difficult document for patients to receive in Canada, due to regulatory pressure on physicians not to provide them based on their medical judgement except in very rare circumstances.

The U of S crowns itself for academic freedom, diversity, equality, human dignity and a healthy work and learning environment, yet it has harshly terminated faculty for speaking on the hallmark principle of informed consent for Covid-19 vaccination of children,” stated Andre Memauri, a U of S alum. 

“Now, the U of S seeks to exclude and villainize those who decide for various reasons not to be vaccinated…Without question, our community has been through a great deal of difficulty and it requires these institutions to lead as vessels of science not ideology…The Justice Centre demands both schools follow the science and adopt policies that bring students together in the most safe and lawful manner.”

The letters sent to both schools from the Justice Centre on November 19 warned that the schools are seeking to deprive students from education on the basis of vaccination status, contrary to Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Sections 2(a), 7, and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Harding is a Western Standard contributor based in Saskatchewan

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CRA wants more tax filers to file online

The government’s own research shows millions of paper filers resist change.

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The taxman is angry that too many Canadians are still filing by mail, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

The government’s own research shows millions of paper filers resist change.

“Those who submit their taxes by mail most often say they use paper rather than filing electronically because it is simply how they prefer to do it, e.g. they do it out of habit, because ‘it’s what they are comfortable with,’ they like it, etcetera,” said a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) report.

“Just 13% cite security issues.”

Data show of 30.5 million tax returns filed this year a total 2.7 million or 9% were filed on paper. Millions of taxpayers, a total 4,234,772 including Internet filers, demanded refunds be paid by mailed cheque instead of direct deposit.

The CRA complained it would be “more timely and efficient” if all taxpayers used the Internet. The Agency spends $6.9 million annually mailing T1 general tax forms alone.

“There is still a sizable proportion of taxpayers who are conducting their business with the Canada Revenue Agency through paper rather than taking advantage of digital services which are much more timely and efficient,” said the report.

Research showed typical paper filers were working age men under 55 who completed their own return without a tax preparer, had a university degree, earned more than $80,000 a year and were more likely than other Canadians to prefer in-person teller service rather than online banking.

“The most important factor influencing why respondents file by paper instead of online is disinterest,” wrote researchers, who added: “Apathy is a barrier. Fifty percent of likely switchers say they are simply not interested in switching. Therefore the agency will have to demonstrate the value of switching.”

Findings were based on questionnaires with 2,000 taxpayers who filed returns by mail. The Agency paid Earnscliffe Strategy Group $130,061 for the survey.

The research follows a failed 2012 campaign to have all Canadians use direct deposit for payment of tax refunds and benefit cheques. The attempt by the Receiver General of Canada, the federal office responsible for processing payments, was intended to save costs. Paper cheques cost 82¢ apiece to process compared to 13¢ for electronic transfers, by official estimate.

An estimated 13% of taxpayers refused to surrender bank account information to the Receiver General. “Cheque recipients have become harder to engage,” said a 2020 Department of Public Works survey.

“A few have a general distrust of the Government of Canada’s ability to protect data,” wrote researchers. A total 23 percent of Atlantic residents said they wouldn’t rely on the government to protect their privacy, followed by 22% in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, 21% in Ontario, 19% in Alberta, 18% in BC and 12% in Québec.

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WATCH: Alberta Oil drives Guilbeault to meeting with Nixon

Federal Environment Minister Stephen Guilbeault’s tour of Alberta has already kicked off with a whiff of hypocrisy.

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Attended by a sizable entourage, Guilbeault exited his black gasoline-powered SUV and hustled into the McDougall Centre in Calgary for a meeting with Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon.  

Guilbeault has dedicated most of his career to telling Canadians they need to transition from petrochemically fueled transportation. During this meeting though, Guilbeault chose not to find an utilize an electric-powered SUV in order to demonstrate his environmental virtue. With the resources of the entire federal government behind him, one would have thought that Guilbeault could have arranged appropriate transportation for his cross-Canada tour.  

It’s almost as if electric vehicles are still not ready for mainstream use yet. 

At least Guilbeault contributed to the Western economy with his conspicuous consumption of local petrochemical products.  

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