Alberta Party Opposition Leader Greg Clark is calling for transparency in MLA pay and has called for a review of MLA pay and perks. He pointed to the MLA temporary residence allowance as one area of MLA pay out of step with Albertans’ expectations.
“MLAs living more than 60 km from the Legislature receive a flat $1,930 living allowance no matter how much it actually costs them in rent,” said Clark. “This is one of several aspects of MLA pay that makes no sense. MLAs who are able to find cheaper accommodation get to keep the difference.
“The simple answer is to reimburse MLAs for the actual cost of their accommodation up to the cap.”
In Clark’s case, it would mean he receives more than $10,000 extra per year. He will donate amounts over and above his actual rental cost to Alberta charities once per quarter.
Clark called for a review of MLA pay and perks, including the living allowance.
“MLAs are well paid,” said Clark. “Rules like this are a sneaky way to increase MLA pay without Albertans knowing.
“When the Member Services Committee is set up I will be putting forth a motion regarding MLA pay, living allowance and travel expenses, and the way these expenses are reimbursed.”
Until that time, Clark will be donating his excess living allowance to charity.
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- Temporary Residence Provisions in the Members’ Allowances Order (RMSC 1992, c. M-1, as amended):
- A Member may claim an allowance for temporary expenses while in or near the City of Edmonton to facilitate that Member’s public or official duties
(a) where the Member’s permanent residence is located 60 kilometres or more by primary highway from the Legislature Building, or
(b) where the Member, other than a Member whose constituency is in the City of Edmonton, whose permanent residence is less than 60 kilometres by primary highway from the Legislature Building works 12 or more hours in a day for which the allowance is claimed, including travel time.
6(1) A Member who qualifies for an allowance under section 5(1) may claim an allowance for accommodation in the amount of
(a) $193 per day for each day (not to exceed 120 days in a fiscal year) on which the Member maintains a temporary residence in or near Edmonton when (i) the Assembly is sitting, or (ii) the Assembly is adjourned or not in session and the Member is in or near Edmonton on public or official business
(b) $1,930 per calendar month where that Member owns or leases, in the Member’s own name, a temporary residence in or near Edmonton.
• Mr. Clark’s temporary residence in Edmonton will cost $1,050/month. Not including one-time costs to establish a second residence the current rules would provide him with an additional $10,560 annually.
• The average rental cost for a two bedroom apartment in downtown Edmonton in 2014 was $1,330. The overall average rental cost in Edmonton within new and existing structures totals $1,227 (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Rental Market Report, Edmonton CMA Fall 2014.)