$1.2M hike for Alberta premier's office criticized
Much of increase will go to letter-writing and entertaining
A $1.2 million increase in funding for the Aberta premier's office announced in Thursday's provincial budget isn't sitting well with critics.
The premier's office says of the $1.2 million, $300,000 will be used to hire letter writers and $400,000 for hosting.
- Alberta plays it safe with 'cautious' 2014 budget
- The Alberta Budget: Where are your tax dollars going?
- Politicians from across the province weigh in on the Alberta budget
Liberal leader Raj Sherman says he is appalled by the amounts.
"Imagine if she's there Monday to Friday, 200 days a year," said Liberal leader Raj Sherman. "That's $2,000 a day for food in her office. How much food does she eat? This does not make sense because she already has a budget that's over $11 million."
The premier's office said the government has an ambitious plan to open new markets and get fairer prices for Alberta's resources.
With that in mind the province is encouraging decision-makers and other government leaders to come to Alberta and explore opportunities on the province's tab, said spokesperson Neala Barton.
Sherman also questioned the money set aside to hire letter writers to respond to Albertans who write to the premier.
"They have a public affairs bureau whose budget is over $25 million, they have ministries that have millions of dollars of communications people," he said. "There's absolutely zero justification."
With files from CBC's Scott Stevenson