It's a job that keeps on giving. Years after retiring from politics, some southern Albertans are being paid as much as $98,000 a year for their time in power.
Annual reports tabled in the legislature this week show 10 retired MLAs from southern Alberta (or their estates) continue to receive a provincial pension or a "transitional allowance."
The winner, at $98,934, is long-time Progressive Conservative cabinet minister Bob Bogle. But Albertans are also paying pensions every year to former cabinet members Jack Ady, Fred Bradley, LeRoy Fjordbotten and John Gogo.
Provincial cheques are also going to former provincial Social Credit leader Ray Speaker, who moved on to federal politics, and to the estate of the last Social Credit premier, Harry Strom. (Pensions paid to retired MLAs are now posted on the Alberta government website.)
Bogle, who represented the former Taber-Warner riding, was first elected in 1975. He earned national headlines by defeating Werner Schmidt, who'd succeeded Strom as Socred leader. Premier Peter Lougheed made Bogle his youngest cabinet member, as minister without portfolio responsible for aboriginal affairs.
After the 1979 election, Bogle was promoted to Minister of Social Services and Community Health, and later became Minister of Utilities and Telecommunications. In 1986 he announced he'd run for re-election, but did not want to continue in cabinet.
Re-elected in 1986 and 1989, Bogle became caucus chairman and whip when Ralph Klein became premier in 1992, but he did not seek re-election in 1993.
Five-term Lethbridge East MLA Dick Johnston also won his first election in 1975 - defeating a Social Credit incumbent - and Lougheed named him Minister of Municipal Affairs. After subsequent elections, the premier appointed him as the first Minister of Intergovernmental Relations, then as Minister of Advanced Education and Technology, and ultimately as finance minister.
After retiring from politics, Johnston moved away from Lethbridge. He died in Paris in 2003. His family received $60,945 over the year ending last March 31.
In Lethbridge West, John Gogo was another MLA first winning election in 1975, defeating yet another Socred incumbent.
Voters subsequently returned Gogo for three more terms, and he served as Minister of Advanced Education from 1985 to 1992. His legislative pension is listed at $59,902.
Fred Bradley is still another southern Albertan first elected in 1975, defeating an incumbent Socred MLA in the former Pincher Creek-Crowsnest riding. After he won re-election in 1979 and again in 1982, the premier named him the province's first Minister of Environment.
Bradley was returned in 1986 and again in 1989, and now receives an annual pension of $62,210 for his time in office.
More recently, a third southern Alberta MLA became advanced education minister. Jack Ady was elected in 1986 in the former Cardston constituency. (He was followed in that ministry by former Lethbridge West MLA Clint Dunford and then by his successor, Greg Weadick.)
Ady was re-elected in 1989 and 1992, and was appointed to cabinet in 1992 when Ralph Klein became premier. He did not seek re-election in 1997, but went on to become board chair for the Chinook Health Region and Ady was later appointed to the Alberta Health Services "superboard" that replaced regional health boards in 2008. His legislative pension is $21,345.
Just north of Ady's riding, LeRoy Fjordbotten won the Conservative nomination for the Macleod riding and was first elected in 1979. After re-election in 1982, he was appointed to Lougheed's cabinet as Minister of Agriculture.
When Don Getty succeeded Lougheed in the premier's office, the auctioneer and farmer was moved to the tourism ministry. He later became Minister of Forestry, Lands and Wildlife.
Fjordbotten did not retain a cabinet post when Klein took over from Getty in 1992, and did not contest the 1993 election. His provincial pension is $46,303.
Speaker, first elected as a Socred in 1963 in Little Bow, became Minister of Health ad Social Development in 1968. Though Conservatives won power elsewhere, he was re-elected as a Socred and by the early 1980s became party leader as well as Opposition Leader in the legislature.
Breaking away from the Socreds, Speaker became leader of the short-lived Representative Party before "crossing the floor" to become Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs for the Conservatives.
Speaker moved to federal politics in 1993 and became Lethbridge MP under the Reform Party banner. He retired from elected office in 1993, and receives a provincial pension of $58,155.
Another veteran MLA, now living in the Medicine Hat area, is former house Speaker David Carter. Once serving as an Anglican priest and more recently known as a writer and historian, Carter chaired sessions of the legislature from 1986 to 1993.
Carter was first elected in a Calgary riding in 1979, and served as MLA until 1993. He receives $58,131.
Back in Fort Macleod meanwhile, former MLA David Coutts is listed as receiving $61,883 as a transition allowance. He retired from public life in March 2008.
One of the smallest pensions, reflecting the politics of those times, is the $15,183 sent to the family of the late Harry Strom. The province's ninth premier - the first actually born in Alberta, in Burdett - Strom was first elected in 1955 and went on to head the agriculture ministry and then the department of municipal affairs.
When Premier Ernest Manning retired in 1968, Strom won a six-man race to succeed him as Social Credit leader and premier. His government was swept away by the Lougheed landslide of 1971.
By comparison, Lougheed's pension was listed at $69,197 and Getty's at