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Wildrose asks for investigation into PCs hiding over $30 billion in grant and contract payments

EDMONTON, AB (February 5, 2015): Today, Wildrose Justice Critic Shayne Saskiw requested an investigation from the Auditor General demanding to know exactly why the PC government is failing to disclose up to $30 billion in annual grant and contract payments given out by the province.

Alberta Treasury Board’s Blue Book shows who is doing business with government and selected payments that have been made for supplies or services purchased by departments. In 2013-14, the Alberta government paid out $31 billion in grants and $4.1 billion in contracts. 

The government is mandated to release quarterly updates on grant payments on its disclosure website and on Alberta’s Blue Book; however, there has been no information released since June 2014, with the second and third quarter updates overdue.

Saskiw said this is just the latest broken promise from Premier Jim Prentice who committed to running the, “most ethical and transparent government in Canada.”

“Whether it’s raising taxes, driving up debt, breaking the province’s laws or failing to disclose over $30 billion in government spending, it’s clear it’s just more of the same from a tired and out-of-touch PC government,” Saskiw said. “Albertans deserve to know how and where their money is being spent. We hope the Auditor General can help Albertans get to the bottom of this.”

In 2013-14 alone, the Blue Book disclosed payments of over a million dollars to communications firms Navigator ($340,000) and Calder Bateman ($932,000), as well as a $13.3 million payment made to Tervita. In the first quarter of 2014-15, the government has already paid over $1 billion in contracts. 

“While Mr. Prentice is planning to raise job-killing taxes, hiding where and how Albertans’ money is being spent is just another slap-in-the-face,” Saskiw said. “Taxpayers are unwilling to give the government more money without knowing how it is being spent.”