The Alberta government is spending $350

Redford’s government spends $350,000 on glossy budget mail-out brochure

Alberta Premier Alison Redford’s government is spending $350,000 to mail out a full-colour budget brochure — something critics suggest is Redford’s latest attempt to save her job. “It’s desperation,” Wildrose Opposition Leader Danielle Smith said Tuesday.

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Alison Redford’s government is spending $350,000 to mail out a full-colour budget brochure — something critics suggest is Redford’s latest attempt to save her job.

“It’s desperation,” Wildrose Opposition Leader Danielle Smith said Tuesday.

“We have a premier who is desperately afraid of losing confidence from her party in her leadership vote in the fall, and she’s pulling out all the stops, including using taxpayer money to send out political propaganda.”

The eight-page mail-out repeats dollar figures, commitments, and talking points used by the government when it delivered the budget March 7.

That financial forecast is for $6.3 billion in red ink along with cuts or reductions in spending across the board.

But it also promised renewed savings and infrastructure spending to keep pace with a growing population.

The brochure, called Report to Taxpayers, highlights spending, savings and infrastructure goals, but doesn’t mention the key concern of critics: that Redford plans to accrue $17-billion of debt over the next four years.

The brochure, which also includes testimonials from Albertans praising the budget and the government, also reiterates that the province is being hammered by what Redford and her government are calling the “bitumen bubble.”

Redford coined the term to explain the price difference between what Alberta’s oil sells for compared with the North American oil benchmark, West Texas Intermediate.

The government has said the bubble is taking a big bite out of resource revenues, but critics suggest the price spread is not far off traditional levels and is being used by Redford as a red herring to justify service cuts and debt.

Redford, in her personal address to Albertans on page 2 of the brochure, mentions the bubble twice in the first three paragraphs.

She defended the mail-out during question period.

“We’re very excited to be able to make sure that we are accountable to Albertans for the decisions that we made in Budget 2013,” said Redford.

“And we’re proud of the fact that we’re going to deliver that fact-based document to 1.2 million households this week.”

Added Finance Minister Doug Horner: “We don’t apologize for communicating to Albertans the information that Albertans want to know.”

Smith said the money could have been put to better use by a government that cut $210,000 from a social program for victims of sexual exploitation.

“The $350,000 that this government wasted on a PC-election-style brochure would have covered Safe House for more than a year,” she said.

NDP Leader Brian Mason pointed out the brochure is even in the blue and orange colours of the Progressive Conservative party.

“To me it’s nothing but a very expensive taxpayer-funded piece of propaganda.”

Mason said Redford is running a de facto election campaign. She faces a mandatory vote of confidence from party members in November but has seen her popularity fall drastically in recent public opinion polls.

“This has got a lot to do with the premier’s campaign, which is now in full swing, to win her leadership review in November,” said Mason.

All parties agree the brochure highlights the increasing politicization of government business under Redford.

News releases from the non-partisan civil service on recent school construction announcements rebranded the “Alberta government” as the “Redford government.”

Those releases also included interviews with happy participants.

“I think it’s awesome that they’re building a new school for our community,” Grade 8 student Shaurye Agnihotri said in a news release May 3.

Redford used the school announcements to deliver partisan attack speeches against her opponents to the children and adults present.

She warned them that a Wildrose government wouldn’t build anything.

All parties labelled the attack on the Wildrose in the presence of children as shameful.

“The premier seems content to campaign in front of schoolchildren on the taxpayers’ dime,” said Liberal Leader Raj Sherman.

On Monday, Mason said it’s time the Tories stopped using children as political “props.”

Redford said she doesn’t plan to stop delivering her message to audiences.

Page 2 of Tuesday’s mail out features a photo of Redford holding up a smiling tousle-haired little girl.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jason Aquino has been adding to his front lawn Halloween display for the past five years. “I wanted to do it big this year, because even in the pandemic, we can still enjoy Halloween,” says the Red Deer father.
Halloween spookiness rises to new level

Rare astronomical occurrence caps off a strange holiday

Alberta Health Services' central zone jumped from 162 active COVID-19 cases to 178 on Friday. Five additional deaths were reported provincewide, bringing the toll to 323. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
622 new COVID-19 cases set another daily high Friday

Province confirmed 622 additional cases Friday

Advocate file photo
Man awaiting murder trial facing two new trials for breaching release conditions

Quentin Strawberry going to trial in March in connection with 2019 murder

Ecole La Prairie students and teachers dressed up in Halloween costumes and paraded by Barrett Kiwanis Place, while waving at the building’s residents in Red Deer on Friday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Ecole La Prairie students parade in Halloween costumes for Red Deer seniors

Dozens of Red Deer students put on their Halloween costumes to spread… Continue reading

Advocate file photo
Preliminary hearing set for Walmart shooting suspect

Chase Freed facing second-degree murder and attempted murder charges

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

ll
Imagining the origins of Halloween

Long ago and far away, a small assemblage of English people gathered… Continue reading

Red Deer College president Peter Nunoda. (Photo by contributed)
Peter Nunoda: Winter term will be busier on RDC campus

In my column last month, I shared details about Red Deer College’s… Continue reading

Canada Artistic Swimming plans to ‘rip off the band-aid’ to create better environment

Canada Artistic Swimming plans to ‘rip off the band-aid’ to create better environment

North Carolina's Myles Dorn (1) celebrates a big stop with teammate Patrice Rene (5) during the first quarter of the team's NCAA college football game against Miami in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. Canadian Rene appears set to return to North Carolina's lineup in time for the No. 15 Tarheels' rivalry game against Virginia and a potential all-Canadian showdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Chris Seward
Canadian Patrice Rene appears set to return to North Carolina’s lineup after injury

Canadian Patrice Rene appears set to return to North Carolina’s lineup after injury

Regina Pats defenceman Cale Fleury (4) tries to clear OHL Hamilton Bulldogs forward Nicholas Caamano (10) from in front of the net during third period Memorial Cup semifinal action in Regina on Friday, May, 25, 2018. The Ontario Hockey League will not have bodychecking this coming season. Lisa MacLeod, Ontario's minister of sport, confirmed the decision on Friday afternoon.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
MacLeod: No bodychecking allowed in upcoming Ontario Hockey League season

MacLeod: No bodychecking allowed in upcoming Ontario Hockey League season

Colorado Avalanche goalie Pavel Francouz (39) makes the save on Minnesota Wild's Alex Galchenyuk (27) during third period NHL exhibition game action in Edmonton, on Wednesday July 29, 2020. Galchenyuk says his new team is getting a motivated player with something to prove. The forward signed a one-year, US$1.05-million contract with the Ottawa Senators in free agency earlier this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alex Galchenyuk eager for fresh start with Senators: ‘I have a lot to prove’

Alex Galchenyuk eager for fresh start with Senators: ‘I have a lot to prove’

Bayern's Alphonso Davies, right, challenges PSG's Thilo Kehrer, left, during the Champions League final soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich at the Luz stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020. Canadians Alphonso Davies, Will Johnson, Pat Onstad and Dwayne De Rosario are among the 134 finalists for Major League Soccer's "25 Greatest" players. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Miguel A. Lopes/Pool
Davies, DeRo join Beckham, Giovinco and others as finalists for MLS’ ‘25 Greatest’

Davies, DeRo join Beckham, Giovinco and others as finalists for MLS’ ‘25 Greatest’

Michael Jordan’s NASCAR team partners with Gibbs, Toyota

Michael Jordan’s NASCAR team partners with Gibbs, Toyota

Most Read