“Musical Chairs in Reverse” is what I called my last editorial. Turns out, I wrote too soon. Today, newly non-publicly-elected premiere Danielle Smith made her selection of Alberta’s new cabinet. The party that tends to argue for small government now has the largest cabinet and most provincial ministers that Alberta has ever seen.
With a total of 26 ministers and 11 parliamentary secretaries, these 37 UCP members make up over half of their 60-member caucus. These positions come with extra pay ($60,000 per minister, $27,000 per ‘secretary’) on top of their $120,000 base salary. This is a cost of over 1.8 million per year. Looking back, this exceeds Mr. Kenney’s former cabinet by seven ministers and two secretaries. So that’s an extra $474,000/year that Albertans now get to pay.
To put it in perspective, for roughly the same amount, with around 43,000 students at AU, the additional pay for Alberta ministers could basically purchase a free course for every student. Unfortunately, Advanced Athabasca County Education Minister Demetrious Nicolaides was not affected by the cabinet shuffle, so you’re probably better off applying for AUSU’s Awards & Bursaries. (You’ve got until Halloween, so don’t procrastinate).
Personally, I was hoping that at least the new premiere would mean a more significant cabinet shuffle and at least bring in some fresh eyes to consider whether AU should be concentrating on supporting a small town as opposed to educating students. I didn’t expect that Ms. Smith would simply be bringing more chairs out. In retrospect, though, I probably should have. As she has yet to be elected and it would only take 17 disgruntled UCP members walking to put her in a minority government position, it shouldn’t be any surprise that there’s a lot of money being splashed around in the legislature right now. It wouldn’t bode well for her election chances, after all, if she technically lost the UCP’s majority before the conservative voters of Medicine Hat went to the polls.
But enough about that. In better news, this week’s issue has some fun articles to ponder over, whether it’s our latest Minds We Meet interview with a student who loves the tech aspect of AU, an article by Elisa on a strategy to handle those stressful situations that surprise us sometimes, the ‘triggers’ as they’re called, or commentary on popular culture, looking at what Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s very public breakup can tell us about much more serious issues than Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, we’ve got quite a selection in this week’s Voice Magazine!
Not only are there still scholarships, events, recipes, and music reviews, but on the more philosophical side, we also explore Freud and how if education is just a sublimation of animalistic urges while everything proceeds to death, why it’s still worth it. Okay, it doesn’t sound terribly uplifting when I put it that way, but you might be surprised by this week’s Fly on the Wall.
And I can’t forget advice on everything from diets to what to do when you’ve become a grandma twice over but still haven’t gotten your kid out of high school.
On top of all that, we’ve also got the report from the September Council meeting. The budget one, and you might be surprised to know, it wasn’t unanimous this year. Enjoy the read!