Alberta MLAs are taking a 5 per cent pay cut while Premier Jason Kenney is taking a 10 per cent wage reduction.

The Special Standing Committee on Members’ Services introduced and passed the pay cuts on Tuesday.

Members of the NDP Opposition are calling this action a smokescreen for future public sector cuts with Lethbridge West MLA Shannon Phillips saying it’s a symbolic gesture in order to justify rolling back wages for thousands of public sector workers.

She says it’s a bit of a cynical attempt to distract from the fact that Jason Kenney is about to significantly affect the lives of many, many families across the province.

Lethbridge East UCP MLA Nathan Neudorf says calling the action a smokescreen for future public sector cuts, is a lot of speculation.

He says “we know we have to look at the budget. We know we have to make some tough decisions and we also know we have to take leadership.” He adds “it is a bit disingenuous wherever those cuts might be, to ask whoever has to adjust to those new realities if we haven’t done it ourselves.”

A 5 per cent pay cut for MLAs and the Premier also took place during the brief Prentice government, an announcement Phillips says was followed by a budget that tried to balance the books on the backs of Albertans and ultimately resulted in the defeat of that conservative government.