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Government pay and perks: Unreasonable solutions needed

The provincial government currently has Justice John Major taking a look into changes to MLA pay and perks.

The provincial government currently has Justice John Major taking a look into changes to MLA pay and perks.

Numerous organizations, including the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, as well as politicians like local MLA Rob Anderson are making presentations to Justice Major, with reasonable suggestions for how to fix a broken system.

The problem with reasonable suggestions is that the government doesn’t generally like them. ‘Reasonable’ is just not the government’s cup of tea. It’s not the preferred mode of operations.

So, if we know reasonable suggestions have no hope of making it into actual law, that leaves us with one avenue: Unreasonable options.

Here are a few:

• Every time the Legislature approves a pay increase for MLAs, one member of the governing caucus must run naked from the Legislature, jump into a large mud puddle, roll and yell, “Oink! Oink! Oink!”

• Every time the premier’s cabinet approves a pay increase for itself, somewhere in Alberta an orphan has his puppy taken away.

• Every time a deputy minister is given a raise, he or she loses transportation privileges. In addition, that minister’s limousine will be replaced by a 1973 AMC Gremlin, one of the worst cars ever built.

• All future bonuses to Alberta Health Services administrators will be paid in cookies. And not good cookies, but awful over-cooked ones containing seemingly random ingredients like dried pineapple or lead paint.

• Any cabinet minister who leaves office, only to accept a job elsewhere in the government, is not eligible for a transition allowance (looking at you, Gary Mar). Instead, that person will be reminded that having a job is a great way to earn money to, you know, pay for stuff.

• If a minister attempts to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to a buddy for little or no work under a “verbal contract,” that minister will be charged with “corruption.” If found guilty, he or she would serve a “sentence” in a “correctional facility.”

• Following every election, losing MLAs will not be able to accept transition allowances unless they take part in a five-day paintball game against their own constituents, wearing neon spandex uniforms... in winter.

• If a government member wishes to use the government jet, he or she must take off and land at a commercial airport, stand in line and wait to be patted down like every other airline passenger, and eat the same disgusting three-day-old dried out turkey sandwich that coach passengers are offered. Failure to eat the sandwich results in a fine of two sandwiches.

• In the event of a deficit, all MLAs will receive a 20 per cent pay cut and a televised wedgie from the Legislature’s sergeant-at-arms.

• The Speaker’s salary may be increased only if he or she agrees to answer all points-of-order in iambic pentameter.

• Any MLA who uses the public purse to upgrade his or her office furniture must receive approval from a panel of three homeless people.

• If any MLA is unable to appear at the Legislature for a vote, they are docked one day’s pay. If they miss more than three votes in any one session, they are fired. And by fired, I mean lit on fire for their constituents’ amusement.

• The tax-free portion of MLAs’ salaries is hereby rescinded. It will be replaced by hug from Alison Redford. MLAs are encouraged to opt out.

Now that I think of it, some of these ideas aren’t so unreasonable.

MLAs being forced to come to work to get paid? Justifying expenses to the public? Potentially illegal behaviour being prosecuted? Darn! That’s way too reasonable.

The government will never go for it.

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