EDMONTON - Alberta Premier Jim Prentice will make a television appearance on Tuesday to talk about changes to the financial situation in the province, but the Opposition Wildrose has turned down an invitation to offer a rebuttal.
Wildrose MLA Shayne Saskiw says the offer "clearly wasn't genuine" and says the party hopes to do a live stream response after Prentice's statement is broadcast "if a network is willing to take it up."
He says the government did not tell them what would be in the pre-recorded, 20-minute statement, making it difficult to offer a pre-recorded rebuttal.
However, Liberal Leader David Swann has accepted the offer to address Albertans after the premier's televised address.
He says he welcomes the chance to speak to Albertans "at such an important fiscal, social, and political time for our province."
Swann also says if the last year has taught them anything, "it is that an effective opposition matters."
Saskiw says the televised address will cost $80,000, adding that reminds him of the actions of former premier Alison Redford.
“Eighty-thousand dollars for a TV commercial before the election is more than the cost of Redford’s flight to South Africa," says Saskiw. "It’s almost more than twice the amount.”
Swann says Albertans deserve to hear more than a one-sided government argument.
"The ability of Albertans to hear another voice, at the same time, and via the same medium is not only good from an Alberta Liberal opposition perspective, it is good for democracy," he says.
"People watching next week will be looking for leadership they can count on in the good times and in the bad. We have always been there for Albertans, and we always will be."
Prentice is widely expected to call a provincial election this spring.
(CHED, The Canadian Press)