When Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach was first elected, the first thing he did was create a list of five priorities or promises he would focus on as premier.
The first, the very first one was: "Govern with integrity and transparency." What he meant by that is:
Govern with integrity and transparency
- implement democratic reforms including all-party committees of the Legislature
- consult Albertans on key issues such as the provincial budget
- improve the transparency and accountability of government agencies, boards and commissions
So, just how transparent was the government's recent decision to grant cabinet ministers and the premier 30% and 34% pay raises respectively?
- Public consultations? No.
- Legislative review? No.
- A Bill voted upon in the Legislature? No.
- A public debate in the Legislature? No.
- A government news release to announce it? No.
- A press conference to announce it? No.
- Stuck on the bottom of an Order in Council that is buried on a Queen's printer website, calling it "committee pay"? YES!
It was so obscurely hidden that I had to walk a few reporters step-by-step over the telephone today to show them how to find it.
Want to see it for your self?
Instructions on how to find the Order in Council:
1. Go to http://www.gov.ab.ca/
2. Click on the "News" tab on the top toolbar
3. Scroll to the "News Search" box on the left hand side and click the "GO" button next to "Show News Releases for the: Last Month".
4. Scroll down to the "Orders in Council" area (near the bottom) and click on the Approved Orders in Council May 29, 2008 link.
5. Scroll down to "HONOURABLE MR. STELMACH" Order 240/2008, which is the order in question, however you cannot click on it, so you have to keep scrolling down to the bottom where it reads: "Orders in Council can now be viewed on the Queen's Printer website at: http://www.qp.gov.ab.ca/display_orders.cfm" Click that link.
6. After the new window has popped up, scroll down to "Premier" (about 3/4 down the page) and click the: "Legislative Assembly Act (May 28, 2008) -- 08240" link that is below.
7. There you have it, the Order in Council: http://www.qp.gov.ab.ca/documents/orders/orders_in_council/2008/508/2008_240.html
But, if you want to see the pay raise portion, you have to scroll down to the bottom, section 3(2) and 3(3) which grant "committee pay" to cabinet ministers and the premier (or as they call him, the "President of the Executive Council") of $3,500 per month for cabinet ministers and $4,500 per month for the premier.
Nice and transparent eh?