EDMONTON - Alberta Premier Alison Redford is defending a $19,000 trip to a private meeting of world government and business leaders in Virginia this week.

Wildrose Opposition Leader Danielle Smith says Redford's taxpayer-funded trip to the Bilderberg conference near Washington, D.C., will serve only to beef up Redford's resume.

The conference is held under tight secrecy and is by invitation only.

Redford told the legislature that she will be advancing Alberta's interests by meeting and talking with global leaders.

Smith says Redford would better serve Albertans by staying in the province to meet federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.

Mulcair has questioned the overall benefit to Canada of the oilsands and is to tour the development near Fort McMurray on Thursday.