— Alberta PremierComms (@ABPremierComms) January 28, 2013
High-drama took place on Twitter’s #ableg hashtag yesterday morning as Premier Alison Redford‘s online communications team took aim at QR77 talk radio host Dave Rutherford. In response to a tweet from Innisfail-Sylvan Lake Wildrose MLA Kerry Towle congratulating Mr. Rutherford on the 30th anniversary of the show, the Premier’s Communications staff tweeted that the show was “Wildrose Radio.”
The popular radio talk show host has become a vocal critic of the provincial Tories and is seen as a tacit supporter of Wildrose leader Danielle Smith, who is a frequent guest on his show.
Nice to see Prem Communications paying attention to tweets, but let’s understand that @rutherfordshow deals with issues and policies only.
— Dave Rutherford (@RutherfordShow) January 28, 2013
While it might not seem smart to attack a radio program with a large audience across the province, it is not as if the Premier was receiving rave reviews on the Rutherford Show anyway. After being pummelled in the media by the opposition parties in last year’s fall sitting of the Assembly, this could be the beginning of a new and more aggressive communications strategy from the Premier’s office.
Any observer of the #ableg hashtag will have become accustomed almost daily Twitter battles between hyper-partisan Wildrose Caucus staffers and increasingly-partisan Ministerial Press Secretaries, who are now free from the non-partisan veneer of the Public Affairs Bureau.
During a telephone town-hall to Progressive Conservative Party members last night, Premier Redford took a shot at the Wildrose, claiming that “if another political party had been elected, there would be NO building in this province.”
This comment follows comments by Wildrose critic Rob Anderson about the government’s four-year project to renovate the historic Federal Building in downtown Edmonton.
In fairness to the Wildrose Party, with some high-profile exceptions, its platform in the last election would have would have rolled back spending and stretched out infrastructure projects over a longer period (but not cancel it altogether). – h/t Josh Wingrove
Last week, I had an opportunity to speak with Premier Redford over the phone for a few minutes following her televised address. I will have some notes about the interview posted on the blog over the next few days.