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EDMONTON — Alberta's NDP government has appointed a former union strategic adviser to run its key communications operations. Mark Wells is the new managing director of the Public Affairs Bureau. The bureau provides and co-ordinates key messages to the public about government programs and policies. Wells is the former senior communications adviser to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees and was a former communications director for the Alberta NDP. The Wildrose Opposition is calling the NDP's appointment of Wells hypocritical. Wildrose member Jason Nixon noted that for years the NDP criticized former Progressive Conservative governments for politicizing the public service. "The PAB is supposed to be the non-partisan wing of government to communicate with Albertans, but it's clear it will continue its lousy history of being nothing more than a partisan wing of the premier's office," Nixon said Thursday in a release. Wells's personal LinkedIn page includes a recommendation from Lou Arab, Premier Rachel Notley's husband. Arab lists his profession as a communications representative at Canadian Union of Public Employees. "Mark is a very effective writer, knows how to hustle for media coverage, and he understands all the ins and outs of politics," Arab says in the post. "He's very professional, hard-working and a pleasure to work around." Arab notes that he used to be Wells's supervisor. Nixon said Wells will now be make a salary of up to $217,589 this year. "It is increasingly looking like the only way to be hired into the Notley public service is to be a card-carrying member of the NDP," Nixon said. "When Albertans are worried about jobs and the economy, the last thing they want is to see more of the same old backroom politics coming out of the legislature."
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