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Alberta Has Spent $23 Million Calling BC an Enemy of Canada

Alberta Has Spent $23 Million Calling BC an Enemy of Canada

Tyee FOI reveals pro-pipeline PR strategy, spiraling costs.

The Alberta government has spent more than $23 million — twice as much as previously revealed — in a campaign designed to turn the rest of Canada against B.C., The Tyee has learned.

The “KeepCanadaWorking” ad and PR campaign’s top “principle” states, “This is not B.C. vs. Alberta, this is B.C. vs. Canada,” according to documents obtained under a Freedom of Information request.

The documents show how an “ethnic campaign” targeted residents of the Lower Mainland, Toronto suburbs and Ottawa who speak “Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Filipino, Punjabi.”

Work first began in January, 2018 to create the campaign that promotes expanding the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, which would triple the volume of Alberta bitumen sent through the port of Vancouver.

As recently as Nov. 14, 2018, Rachel Notley’s Alberta NDP government stated it had spent $10 million on the campaign.

On Jan. 7, 2019, the Alberta government told The Tyee the amount had reached $23,040,463.90.

The province’s self-described “full-service” public relations arm, the Communications and Public Engagement (CPE) department, named that figure in an email responding to Freedom of Information requests filed by The Tyee.

In the past two months, Alberta has dumped more than $13 million into its pro-pipeline public relations push, a provincial government spokesperson confirmed to The Tyee.

What did $23 million in taxpayer money buy?

Internal Alberta government documents obtained by The Tyee reveal the top “principle” of the so-called “KeepCanadaWorking” campaign: “This is not B.C. vs. Alberta, this is B.C. vs. Canada.”

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