The Wildrose Party believes a leaked email shows the Alberta government used the orange and blue “Building Alberta” signs to promote the premier before her leadership review last month.
“We suspected all along that the PC-branded signs that went up all across the province were being done for political purposes,” Wildrose leader Danielle Smith said.
“This actually confirms it.”
The email from Darren Cunningham, the premier’s director of political operations, tells staffers to put signs up at flood-affected roads, bridges and schools as soon as possible.
“I don’t care if an RFP [Request for Proposals] is ready or not. We need a very visible commitment that the government is rebuilding,” the Sept. 4 email read.
“The signs are designed. We just need to push these out over the next 7 days to 2 weeks.”
The government put up signs in front of 56 flood-related projects.
Minister says people thanked him for signs
A cover letter attached to the email suggests the rush on the signs meant they cost $6,000 instead of $3,000 to $4,000. Smith believes that was an irresponsible use of taxpayer money.
“They’ve been out there cutting all kinds of programs,” she said. “Meanwhile there’s all this frivolous spending happening to be able to promote the PC party and its leader in advance of the leadership review.”
Transportation Minister Ric McIver says that people thanked him for the signs.
“We are telling Albertans about the good work that we’re doing,” he said. “Building Alberta is something that Albertans are excited about.”
McIver would not explain why the government had to get the signs up so quickly.
On Nov. 22, Redford received 77 per cent support in her leadership review.
This isn’t the first time the PCs have gotten into trouble over the Building Alberta campaign.
On Monday, Speaker Gene Zwozdesky found the PCs in contempt of the legislature for announcing decisions in a mailout that hadn’t yet been passed by MLAs.