by Morinville News Staff

A legislative committee has squashed a 7.25 per cent pay raise for legislative officers, including the provinces auditor general.

The raise was initially granted Sept. 24 in a split vote of the Standing Committee on Legislative Offices. The seven NDP members voted in favout of the increase while the opposition members, including Barrhed-Morinville-Westlock MLA Glenn van Dijken voting against the raise.

The Sept. 24 increase included a 2.5 per cent cost-of-living increase on top of a 5 per cent general increase.

NDP MLA Denise Woollard, the committee’s chair, told media Tuesday afternoon the increase was a mistake; however, the Wildrose say the reversal would never have happened without pressure from their party and backlash from the public.

“The fact is, there was no excuse for what the NDP members of the committee did last week,” said Wildrose House Leader Nathan Cooper in a release Tuesday afternoon. “Hardly a day goes by where we don’t hear a deeply personal story of job losses across Alberta, yet the NDP went ahead and rubber-stamped massive pay raises.”

Cooper went on to say he and his party were thankful the NDP reversed the decision. Cooper was joined by Wildrose MLAs Jason Nixon and Glenn van Dijken in voting against the raises in committee Sept. 24.

Along with reversing the 7.25 per cent raise, the committee also scrapped an international trip to Boston on government ethics, reversing a Sept. 24 decision to send four to the sessions.

In speaking tot he reversal of decision, MLA GLenn van Dijken said the matter could have been avoided.

“This whole escapade could have been avoided if only these committee members were in touch with the challenging realities being faced by everyday Albertans,” he said.

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