PC Leader Jim Prentice plans to freeze public sector wages

Progressive Conservative leader Jim Prentice says his government will not negotiate public sector raises until the provincial budget is balanced.

"We're going to have to take a firm position at the collective bargaining table that we start from zero increases," he said.

Prentice said he would cut the number of agencies, boards and commissions by 25 per cent by the end of 2015-16.

He also promised to tighten controls on severance payments, freeze management salaries for three years and limit hiring. He also pledged to extend the scope of the so-called Sunshine List, which publishes the names and salaries of people making over $100,000.

Prentice said he would also include management at Alberta Health Services, universities, school boards, agencies and commissions.

The PC leader's comments came the same day his government was criticized for excluding people from the Sunshine List.

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said the PCs made a "secret rule" to allow some salaries to go unpublished.

"Every time the government claims to be transparent, you have to wonder if they're quietly passing rules to hide things, just like this," he said.

Jean also criticized the PC government for spending $59 million on severance pay from 2011 to 2014.

Alberta Health Services accounted for $28 million; the remaining $31 million was spread across a number of government departments.

Jean said he would cap all severance for political staff and those in senior positions in government and provincial agencies.

"We will find savings in extravagant executive pay, perks, severance and wasteful bureaucracy and redirect this money to where it matters most to Albertans, to the front-line services that they depend on," Jean said.

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