File this story under “All politics are local.”
Red Deer-South NDP MLA Barb Miller recently found herself brewing in controversy after it was discovered in public expense disclosures that her constituency office had spent nearly $5,000 on K-Cup coffee capsules.
Wildrose MLA Don MacIntyre, who represents the neighbouring Innisfail-Sylvan Lake constituency and has branded himself as an anti-communist crusader, penned a letter to the local newspaper criticizing the expense. If she had asked me for advice, I probably would have recommended that her office return and request for a refund for a portion of the $5,000, but last week Ms. Miller stuck to her guns in an interview in the Red Deer Advocate.
Here is an excerpt of the story written by Brenda Kossowan and published on August 25, 2016:
“I think a constituent is worth 50 cents. I’ve got the signage in my window that it’s a safe space, so anybody who is need can get to my office. I’m here representing the people of Alberta. If don’t care if they’re not from Red Deer South. They could be from Peace River, the could be from Pincher Creek. If they need help, my office is open.
The purchase has provided the Red Deer constituency office with enough coffee to last her entire term in office and the K-cups have a “best by” dates at the end of 2018, she said.
“I don’t want to give people sludge. That just looks bad and it smells bad. It was a convenience thing. You can’t not have something for a constituent when they come in, and it was the best value. After I purchased it, they did got up in price. That’s when coffee took that big spike when they had the crop failure down in South America.”
Miller said she ordered the coffee at the end of January and deliveries were made during February.
She said MacIntyre is welcome to have a coffee at the grand opening of her new office, toward the end of September.
He did not reply to the request for a telephone interview with the Advocate on Thursday.