MacIntyre: The Sunshine Status Has Increased

MLA Don MacIntyre’s column about what is happening in Legislature

No, I’m not talking about the current heat wave, though undoubtedly Ms. Notley should be feeling the heat for her governments’ actions in the last while.

It is almost unbelievable, yet true, that during a 2 year salary freeze the Premier’s Office has seen fit to expand Executive Council.

Well, that’s not so bad you say. Perhaps she needs a few more voices of wisdom and reason in her corner. We would agree with that.

However, the Premier’s Office in expanding Executive Council, has either turned a deaf ear to said council, or perhaps hired those unable to give proper council, as hasty decisions and poor money management would suggest. Not only this, but they have added insult to injury by enlarging the number of six-figure staffers employed during an economic downturn.

Six figures. $XXX,XXX. That’s a lot of sunshine for someone. Several someone’s in fact.

In 2015 Executive Council had 53 staff members on the sunshine list. 64 staff members were included on the sunshine list the following year. Essentially, all new hires made at the Premier’s Office were at sunshine list level salaries. Apparently it literally pays to make nice to the Premier.

Yes friends that is the sunshine status that has increased.

If you’re anything like me you are thinking that the NDP government at least needs to take a hard look at its employment practices. Hiring six-figure staffers in the midst of an economic downturn sends a message of indifference and blatant disrespect to the tens of thousands of currently unemployed Albertans. Perhaps Council missed that memo.

Information from the sunshine list shows that the Premier has added 20% more six-figure staffers to her office, all the while overseeing the largest deficit in our provincial history. Not a stat to be proud of.

While the Premier was enlarging her office with more high-paid officials, in 2016 Calgary had the highest unemployment rate in the country, with the number of Albertans on employment insurance at near record levels. Maybe one of her newly hired staff forgot to mention that detail.

Whatever the case, this is unacceptable. The NDP government must stop the senior staff hiring spree.

While hard working Albertans are truly suffering from the heat of having to make ends meet, the NDP and their staff are sitting pretty in the sunshine.

Let’s turn up the heat.

Don MacIntyre, MLA

Innisfail-Sylvan Lake

#2, 160 Hewlett Park Landing

Sylvan Lake, AB

T4S 2J3

P: 403.887.9575

E: Innisfail.sylvanlake@assembly.ab.ca