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Kenney announces wage rollback for UCP staffers

Saying he “expects’ everyone to do their parts in helping dig Alberta out of its financial quagmire, Kenney said the rollbacks will save taxpayers about $1 million.

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Premier Jason Kenney fired a shot across the bow of Alberta unions on Thursday by announcing UCP staffers were taking a seven per cent rollback in their wages.

Saying he “expects’ everyone to do their parts in helping dig Alberta out of its financial quagmire, Kenney said the rollbacks will save taxpayers about $1 million.

He noted MLAs had taken rollbacks of 10 per cent in the past and his own salary had decreased by 15 per cent. Kenney said MLAs also have no pension plan and do not receive severance packages.

“We are doing what the public expects of us,” Kenney said at a press conference announcing a new $83-million interchange on the Queen Elizabeth Hwy. in Airdrie.

The government is about to launch into negotiations with several provincial unions in the wake of organized labour’s fury at plans to shift thousands of jobs in the AHS off government payrolls and into the private sector.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation welcomed the UCP’s decision.

“Many Albertans outside of government are struggling with pay cuts and jobs losses so cutting political staff salaries is a good step to show taxpayers that the government is willing to share some of the economic burden,” said Franco Terrazzano, the CTF’s Alberta Director.

“The UCP deserves credit for tightening its belt and this pay cut helps give Premier Jason Kenney the moral authority to do what needs to be done to put Alberta’s finances back together.”

While many Albertans outside of government have taken pay cuts or lost their jobs during the downturn, the Alberta government’s last broad pay cut was in 1994, according to research by Secondstreet.org.

The Alberta government’s labour costs have grown by nearly 15 per cent between 2014 and 2019, while compensation paid to all Alberta employees has declined by five per cent. Since 2014, the Alberta government’s labour costs have increased by about $3.5 billion with more than 10,000 government employees being added.

“We’ve seen Kenney and MLAs take a cut, now were seeing their staffers share in the downturn and next we need to see that happen across government,” said Terrazzano.

“Kenney needs to take more air out of the government’s ballooning labour costs if he has any hope in balancing the budget and paying down the debt. Today’s decision helps give Kenney the moral authority to ask government employees to take a pay cut.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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Horgan leads NDP to majority government in B.C.

Preliminary results from Saturday’s election show the NDP turned its 41-seat minority into a 55-seat majority.

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John Horgan’s NDSP party now rules B.C. with a majority government.

Preliminary results from Saturday’s election show the NDP turned its 41-seat minority into a 55-seat majority.

More than 500,000 mail in ballots still have to be counted. Final results won’t be known for several weeks.

“B.C. has voted, and a majority has been called, but there are many many hundreds of thousands of votes yet to be counted,” Horgan said at a victory rally in Vancouver.

“While we wait for that final count to happen, I want to assure people that I’m going to keep the focus right where it belongs, on helping people get through this pandemic and making sure that they have the services that they need.”

“All British Columbians can sleep safely knowing that we’re going to do everything we can to keep them safe, healthy and secure.”

The Liberals won 29 seats and the Green party, three.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Kenney says Albertans may get ‘multi-issues’ referendum

The government has already committed to hold a referendum on equalization payments next October at the same time as municipal elections

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says the UCP could have multiple referendum questions for voters next year.

The government has already committed to hold a referendum on equalization payments next October at the same time as municipal elections.

Speaking virtually to the UCP’s AGM on Saturday, Kenney said the party is also looking at adding other issues.

“I believe on the big consequential issues it’s right to go to the public,” kenney told 1,400 delegates who had signed up for the virtual convention.

He said a decision to get rid of Daylight Savings Time, a Senate election, constitutionally changing property rights and a provincial pension plan are some of the things Albertans may have a chance to vote on.

Kenney spent most of his speech hilighting UCP policies they have brought in, including scrapping the carbon tax and repealing Bill 6.

“We are one-third through our mandate and we have implemented two-thirds of our 261 election promises,” said Kenney.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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RCMP able to save ice-bound calf in northern B.C.

The on-duty police officer responded to the area and was able to locate the calf clearly in distress

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For a B.C. Mountie, it was a very moo-ving rescue.

On Tuesday morning, RCMP were told about a young calf that had fallen through ice, into a slough along Farrell Creek Road, north east of Hudson’s Hope, in northeastern B.C.

The on-duty police officer responded to the area and was able to locate the calf clearly in distress, said the RCMP in a release.

“It was obvious that the calf had been doing its best to stay afloat and was getting tired, however could not move forward or backwards due to the surrounding ice,” said the release.

“Thinking quickly, and using any means available to the officer, and some locals that had stopped to assist, the ice around the calf was broken. The very tired calf was able to be lassoed and brought to the edge and out of the slough to rest.”

When we suit up and start our shifts each day, we really never have any idea what our day on the front line will entail,” said Cpl. Rob Gardner.

The front line officer, who responded to the scene, did a great job thinking quickly and outside the box to work with some locals to break the ice and free the small calf. We’d like to thank all those who stopped to assist with this rescue.

The wet calf, who seemed un-injured during the ordeal.

Rescued calf. Courtesy RCMP

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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