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Airdrie MLA joins call for government to pay back $1 million in taxpayers’ money

By: Sara Wilson

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jan 16, 2014 12:38 pm

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Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson and The Wildrose Party are calling for the Alberta government to reimburse taxpayers for the Building Alberta advertising campaign after the Canadian Taxpayers Association filled a Freedom of Information Request in November 2013, which revealed the program’s costs.

According to the Opposition the PC government has spent more than $660,000 on a multi-platform digital advertising blitz in 2013. The campaign, included television, internet and newspaper ads, a brochure mailed to every Alberta household, and design work for all the elements.

“Premier Redford obviously has no problem with using taxpayer money for her own political propaganda even when the speaker himself finds it in contempt of the Legislature,” Anderson said.

“She continues to turn government ethics and accountability on its head; from the Katz donation to Tobacco-gate to countless patronage appointments and now this. She should order the PC party to pay back the $1.7 million immediately.”

According to the minister’s office, the bulk of the spending - $1 million - came from installing signs indicating transportation projects that are currently ongoing.

“There has been an increase over 2012, 2011 figures simply because of the increase in flood recovery projects,” said Christine Way, press secretary for the minister of transportation.

“We expect the number of signage to decrease this year, as the projects will have finished.”

The total breakdown to date for the Building Alberta campaign, according to the documents obtained by the association, are as follows: signage: $1,043,183.45, mailed literature piece: $277,538.52, advertising: $287,759, design and creation: $32,950, displays and backdrops: $25,883.62, printed product: $21,995 and video and multimedia: $15,537.50. The total price tag for the campaign tops out at $1,704,847 spent in 2013.

A total of $3,500 per sign was calculated, according to both the association and the Opposition.

The documents also reveal that Building Alberta pop-up displays and other materials were ordered for every PC MLA’s office – 60 in total. Anderson said the partisan nature of the campaign is no longer in doubt.

“The fact that these PC blue and orange signs have made their way into every PC MLA’s office at taxpayers’ expense, while not even being offered to Opposition MLAs, says all you need to know about the Building Alberta campaign,” Anderson said. “It shows Ms. Redford’s utter disrespect for Alberta taxpayers.”

The signs, according to Way, are the government’s way of informing residents on projects currently ongoing.

“These signs are about showing taxpayers what their tax dollars are invested in,” Way said.

“We’re not surprised that the Opposition is trying to put this on the premier, as usual we feel the Opposition is way off base.”


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