Alberta Sunshine List: Wages Of Top Government Earners Posted Online

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SUNSHINE LIST
The names of more than 3,000 of the Alberta government's top money-earners are going online today. | CP

EDMONTON - The man who suffered a stunning defeat to Alison Redford for the premiership of Alberta is now earning well over $300,000 as the provincial trade representative in Asia.

Gary Mar earned $322,000 in salary and benefits in 2013 according to a list of the government's top salary earners posted online Friday.

Mar's earnings make him the highest paid diplomat employed by Alberta taxpayers.

His earnings, and the earnings of 3,100 others who make more than $100,000 a year, were posted online as part of Redford's pledge to make government more accountable.

The numbers will be updated twice yearly from now on, and at this point don't include officials with Alberta Health Services or with provincial boards, agencies and commissions.

Don Scott, the associate minister in charge of transparency, said there is no timeline yet to get the others on board.

"We are going to be working with the agencies, boards, and commissions so that they live up to the spirit of what we're doing," said Scott.

Friday's disclosures revealed Mar made $274,000 plus more than $48,000 in cash benefits in 2013.

He was appointed to the post in Hong Kong shortly after Redford defeated him late in 2011 in the Progressive Conservative party's vote to replace outgoing premier Ed Stelmach.

Mar, a former Alberta health minister, was considered the overwhelming favourite and had a majority support of caucus but lost to Redford on the final vote.

Also high on the list of 2103 earners were Alberta's medical examiners, each earning more than $343,000 in base salary in 2013.

The top 2013 base salary went to Dr. James Talbot, the chief medical officer of health, at $346,763.

On the political side, Redford's chief of staff, Farouk Adatia, lead the way, pulling in more than $357,000 in salary and benefits in 2013.

Peter Watson, the top civil servant who works for Redford's cabinet, was the top money earner among mandarins at $342,000 in base salary.

The numbers showed the deputy ministers — the top civil servants in each department — earning salaries ranging in the low $200,000 band to just over $300,000.

The numbers were to include the names and salaries of Alberta's 300 Crown prosecutors. But those were scrubbed at the last minute after a Court of Queen's Bench justice issued an injunction Thursday preventing that information from being published.

The judge acted on an application from a prosecutor who is challenging the release of the information, saying having her name and salary information public would make her a more attractive target to those who wish to do her harm or steal her identity.

Scott declined to comment on the injunction, noting it's before the courts. He said he understood that some may not like the release of the information.

"Some people will be uncomfortable with this. That doesn't surprise me," said Scott.

"This is something brand new for Alberta, and obviously it marks a big change in the way that this government has delivered and how we have shared information previously."

Other provinces, like Saskatchewan, B.C., and Ontario already release details of high-income government earners.

The 3,100 are among 27,000 on the direct Alberta government payroll.

Redford announced the project in December after her office refused a ruling from the privacy commissioner to turn over details of the severance paid out to Redford's former chief of staff, Stephen Carter, when he left after being on the job for six months in 2012.

Carter later revealed he earned $130,000 severance.

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