Members of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta have taken a rare step. They have voted to reduce their own salary. To be fair, Alberta legislators have been Canada's highest-paid and will remain so, even after the cut.

But the cut is still garnering a lot of attention. It is true that politicians often talk about their own salaries and benefits being too luxurious. But they hardly ever actually do anything about it. Saskatchewan legislators also took a pay cut last year. It comes in stark contrast to Quebec, where some lawmakers recently wanted to increase their salary by $50,000. Despite this, some are critical of the move.

It was a major campaign promise

The United Conservative Party took power in Alberta earlier this year. It came after the party's dominant performance in the province's general election in April. A key promise on the campaign trail was the reduction of legislators' pay.

It probably took longer than it was supposed to. According to the campaign platform, there would have been an 'immediate' pay cut. Instead, it took several months to achieve. Though in the polarized climate of today's politics, an argument can be made that it was still expedient.

The average legislator is to take a five percent cut, with their take-home pay to $120,931. As premier, Jason Kenney receives a higher salary and as such will take a bigger cut. His salary is to become $186,175. Kenney was formerly a long-time member of the federal parliament. He served in various high-profile roles under Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Most notably, minister of national defense.

Other legislators with prominent posts - ministers, the house speaker, house leaders, and party whips - also have higher salaries.

Pay cuts will apparently be reflective of this.

The salary for Alberta's MLAs still puts them above Canada's other provinces. Next in line is Ontario, whose legislators make $116,550 a year. The lowest basic salary for a Canadian provincial or territorial legislature is the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island. After recent pay increases, the basic average salary is $73,295.

Some were reportedly skeptical about the policy

Opponents of the pay cut cited concerns about issues such as other public workers.

Some said that cutting legislators pay would pave the way for slashing salaries for other public employees. Similar things were said in Saskatchewan.

The Edmonton Sun praised the lowering of the MLAs' salaries. Though it did acknowledge that it wouldn't do much to alleviate the province's debt. According to them, it's politicians 'taking a look at their own pocketbooks' before 'taking an ax to other areas.'

Things did get tense in the Legislative Assembly before the vote. However, even after the drama, the vote passed unanimously.

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