A 30-second commercial running in theatres that pokes fun at what Alberta charges oil companies for royalties contains a serious message, says the ad's creator.
"We are trying to use humour to start a conversation about how do we pay for our public services," said Gil McGowan, president of the the Alberta Federation of Labour. "In a province as wealthy as Alberta, why the heck do we have a deficit in the first place?"
The ad was launched by Better Way Alberta — a coalition including Public Interest Alberta and the AFL — in response to the latest provincial budget cuts.
In the $180,000 production, a smug billionaire thanks the province for giving him such a good deal on taxes and royalties all the while underfunding healthcare and education "so I can make even more millions."
McGowan said the group wanted the ads to be cheeky and entertaining.
It's part of the reason the producers gave the character a Transylvanian accent.
"We didn't want to pick on anyone so we settled on an accent that sounded like someone from Transylvania," said McGowan. "Because frankly we feel that these oil companies — no matter where they're from — are sucking the blood out of the Alberta economy."