Province to spend more cash on advertisements promoting oilsands
The premier says the province will invest in more costly advertisements to get its message out about the oilsands. Ed Stelmach made the pledge Tuesday morning as he flipped pancakes during his annual pancake breakfast at the Alberta Legislature.
Recently, a U.S. company launched its anti-oilsands campaign against Alberta.
The ad campaign urges tourists to "rethink" any travels plans destined for Alberta. San Francisco-based Corporate Ethics International calls Alberta an "environmentally unfriendly place" due to its oilsands.
The ads depict phrases such as, "Alberta: the Other Oil Disaster", and show images of oil-covered birds.
Stelmach says he'll be spending money on more advertisements as a way to fight back against the negative press. He tells CTV New the ads will likely appear in national print publications but officials could also launch ads on the web and radio.
"It will be through some ads, also through advocacy meetings, meeting with NGOs... it's a full court press," said Stelmach.
The premier says the province is studying the impact of these advertisements on Americans and U.S. decision makers but insists the cost is well worth the exposure and helps to fight back on what he calls a campaign of misinformation.
A month ago, the government ran an ad in the New Yorker at a price of $52,000. Then two weeks ago, it published another ad in Fortune Magazine for nearly $70,000.
"We've had excellent response on the ads. It certainly caught attention in Alberta in terms of the aggressiveness of government moving our file and advancing Alberta's position," he said.
Critics have called the advertisements a waste of taxpayers' money.
"I don't think Albertans will support it," said Liberal Leader David Swann.
The Premier's Office won't say exactly what the new ads will cost taxpayers, but claims it's a small cost to help protect a multi-billion dollar industry.
Swann says he couldn't disagree more.
"I see a consistent failure of putting forward in a business-like way where we're spending our money and the results we're going to get as opposed to reactive defensive posturing," he said.
The government says the advocacy campaign is spread across several different ministries so it would be difficult to project an actual cost. The campaign is separate from Alberta's $25 million branding initiative.
The premier says he'll be spending a lot more time in Washington and Ottawa in the coming months to push the province's oilsands.
With files from Scott Roberts