EDMONTON, AB (January 2, 2014): With news Premier Alison Redford authorized over $1 million dollars worth of Building Alberta signs that prominently feature her name and her party’s colours, the Wildrose is calling on the Premier to order her party to pay back Albertans for partisan political signage.
Earlier today the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation released results of their freedom of information request which shows that the Alberta government spent over $1 million dollars in 2013 on 293 PC branded blue and orange Building Alberta signs. In November, Wildrose released an e-mail from a senior official in the Premier’s Office instructing Ministers 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.” The email told the Ministers to push out the signs over the next 7 days to 2 weeks regardless of the cost. A cover letter attached to the e-mail leaked to Wildrose estimated that each sign might have cost over $6,000 to produce on a rush basis. The documents obtained by the CTF confirm the costs for some signs reached over $8,000. “This was never about informing Albertans about anything meaningful. It was about boosting the Premier’s image at taxpayers expense,” Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson said. “The Premier needs to apologize for this partisan use of tax dollars, immediately cancel this politically motivated campaign, and order her party to pay back the money.” Wildrose has repeatedly asked for a total cost for the entire Building Alberta advertising campaign, which includes internet and television ads, to be made public, but the government has not responded to the request. With the government making cuts to Alberta’s most vulnerable and denying funding for child sexual abuse recovery programs like the Be Brave Ranch, Anderson said the Premier’s binge spending on signs is symbolic of a government out of touch with the priorities of Albertans. “During a time when the government can’t seem to find money for things that really matter, it is disgraceful that they can charge ahead and waste taxpayer’s money on promoting the Premier and PC party colours,” Anderson said. “One million dollars could have done some real good by funding 20 new teachers, or over 30 hip replacement surgeries, or it would have gone most of the way towards paying to keep the Michener Centre in Red Deer open. This is nothing but shameless advertising, and the Premier owes Albertans an explanation.”