EDMONTON, AB (March 6, 2013): The Wildrose Official Opposition is extending an invitation to join their MLAs in the government’s pre-budget briefing lockup to four key stakeholder groups that have been shut out of this year’s briefing by PC officials.
The open invitation has been extended by Leader Danielle Smith’s office to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Public Interest Alberta, the Fraser Institute and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees. “This Premier has said she wants to raise the bar on accountability and transparency in government. If she’s not going to raise it herself, we are happy to raise it for her,” Smith said. “Quite simply, this government is attempting to stifle open and honest criticism of their budget by shutting these groups out. We believe they should be brought into the process of analyzing this very important budget, not left out in the cold.” Wildrose is offering one-day, $1-contracts to individuals from each of those organizations to be brought in to provide budget analysis to the Official Opposition. Government has stipulated that only staff can accompany MLAs into the pre-budget lockup briefing. Smith said Wildrose MLAs believe the stakeholder groups they have invited to accompany them into the briefing bring important perspectives to dissecting and analyzing what is widely anticipated to be a controversial budget. Finance Minister Doug Horner has said, “Stakeholders invited to this year’s lock up are directly impacted by this budget.” “We can think of no set of stakeholders who will be more directly impacted than Alberta’s provincial employees,” said Smith. “The Premier is constantly accusing Wildrose of being ideological, but it is her government that is standing in the way of openness and transparency. These are credible groups who have a legitimate interest in being ready and able to speak to the budget.”