EDMONTON, AB (December 3, 2013): On the heels of a Speaker’s ruling yesterday that found Building Alberta brochures were sent out in contempt of the Legislature, a leaked email from a senior Premier’s Office staff member has further exposed the Building Alberta advertising campaign as a partisan political ploy conceived by Premier Alison Redford herself.
The e-mail, sent Sept. 4, 2013 and leaked to the Wildrose Official Opposition anonymously, was sent by Redford’s Director of Political Operations Darren Cunningham to several PC cabinet ministers and communications staff. He writes: “The Premier would like to ensure that building Alberta signage is up and in front of every flood affected road, bridge, school, etc., literally everything on our infrastructure list to ensure that folks know we are going to be rebuilding. I don’t care if an RFP is ready or not we need a very visible commitment that the government is rebuilding. The signs are designed we just need to push these out over the next 7 days to 2 weeks.” Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said Cunningham’s e-mail, especially the requirement to have them installed so quickly and before Redford’s leadership review, leaves no doubt as to the real motivation of the Building Alberta advertising campaign. “This was never about informing Albertans about work being done to rebuild after the flood, as they’ve claimed all along. It was about boosting the Premier’s image at taxpayers’ expense,” Smith said. “This e-mail shows the Premier’s priority wasn’t flood reconstruction. It was signage to promote herself and work that hadn’t even begun. The Premier needs to apologize for this partisan use of tax dollars and immediately cancel her politically motivated campaign.” A cover letter attached to the e-mail leaked to Wildrose estimates each sign would have cost between $3,000 and $4,000 to produce, but because of Cunningham’s “urgent edict”, the cost jumped to over $6,000 each. Wildrose has repeatedly asked for a total cost for the entire Building Alberta advertising campaign, which includes Internet and television ads, but the government has not answered.