They taught me at work to "attack the issue, not the person." But, what if the person is the issue?
You see, Alberta's Premier, Ed Stelmach, is a jerk. His local monikers "Steady Eddie" and "Honest Ed" are totally inaccurate. A more appropriate nickname would be "Sellmach", as he has done his best to sell out Alberta and its people - barrel by barrel, dollar by dollar. The definition of a "jerk" is "a foolish, rude, or contemptible person." These characteristics best describe the qualities of our sell-out Premier.
How else can you explain his self-proclaimed pay raise of 34%!? While study after study shows that the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer in Canada, good ol' Ed Stelmach pumps an additional $1.3 million annually into the salaries of a handful of political elites in this province - to the Speaker of the House, Cabinet Ministers and their assistants, and the leader of the opposition - the very people who just so happen to be the very ones who have the power to enact such a pay raise!
The Premier's salary was just injected with an additional $54,000 per year. That is $10,000 MORE than the average Joe makes in this province in a whole year, and even the latter statistic of the average annual salary is inflated in this province by the highly paid energy industry and related sectors. Thanks to back door, secret discussions with friends regarding his own desires, the Premier now makes $213,000 a year - more than any other Premier in the country. Oh, and did I mention that elected officials are allowed to claim 1/3 of their earnings as 100% tax free?
Liberal Opposition Leader Kevin Taft was also given a gigantic raise, equivalent to an additional $42,000 per year. This move (to give the opposition leader a pay hike) is a typical Stelmach tactic to shut-up and buy-out the opposition. Luckily Taft has a little more common sense, and he has promised to donate the extra $42,000 to charities - charities that are already fledgling in this province thanks to decades of funding cuts from a government with money pouring out of its coffers.
If you're not yet convinced that Stelmach's plan is conniving, avaricious and downright jerky, check this out: As it turns out, the retirement payouts resulting from this pay hike are an additional part of the plan. As reported in the Edmonton Journal, "The provincial formula essentially hands Mr. Stelmach another $63,000 a year in deferred payout. If he merely makes it to the end of his first term, and quits or loses office, he is eligible to collect $1.1-million."
That's right, Stelmach's new plan means he - a public servant - could retire a millionaire in just four years from now. And while the price of oil continues to climb higher, the plans to keep going with the dirtiest and most destructive oil extraction operation in the world also continue. Pretty soon we might just get another citizen's tax cheque for $400 dollars - a little "fuck you" gift from the province symbolizing the foolish selling off of our precious resources, the annihiliation of our ecology and the erosion of the public interest. Thanks Ed.