“I don’t want to give people sludge’ – Red Deer MLA sticks to her guns in K-Cup Controversy

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.

Barb Miller MLA Red Deer South

Barb Miller

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.

12 thoughts on ““I don’t want to give people sludge’ – Red Deer MLA sticks to her guns in K-Cup Controversy

  1. David Harrigan

    The latest statistics show that the unemployment rate has increased by 2.4%; average weekly earning are down by 4.2%; EI recipients have increased by 48%. Oil price is down by 24.6%. Despite this, net migration to Alberta has increased by 21.7% . These are very serious problems with which government must deal.

    Why on earth are we debating such trivial matters such was the type of coffee being provided in constituency offices? Surely the real issue that Wildrose should be considering is whether or not Ms. Miller also provides tea or hot chocolate.

    Reply
  2. Art

    So she bought in bulk. Big whoop.

    I don’t like k-cups myself, (too much waste) but according to the Wildrose, climate change is just a farce, right?

    Reply
  3. Robert

    This statement shows where NDP wants to focus it’s efforts. This MLA is inviting us to have a K coffee with her while searching for a job because I may have a problem. My problem is out of work and can’t afford to travel for a coffee. So what r you going to do about that.

    Reply
    1. MS

      This is an interesting comment. First of all I understand being out-of-work. It’s rough and scary and demoralizing. But generally when people are vociferously against the NDP and leave this type of comment, they are this way on principle (i.e. against big government interference, meddling, excessive taxes – all those things that are socialist and communist). Yet you want this government to help you get a job? Did you have this expectation of past administrations? Or the federal government?

      Reply
  4. Darcy

    The justification is hilarious. Why is providing a safe space contingent on spending $5000 of tax payers’ money? The MLA is not a social worker. Their job is to manage the economy and the mind the books so nonsense like this doesn’t happen

    Reply
    1. Jim

      MLAs’ offices actually do a lot of social work. They’re the first stop for people who don’t know how to navigate the system, and often also the last resort for people who’ve got bad outcomes from agencies like the WCB. Most constituency offices have a dedicated caseworker who is a social worker.

      Reply
  5. Kurtis

    Fildebrandt charged taxpayers $50 for Breakfast with Manning so $5000.00 for four years of coffee sounds like a deal no?

    Not to mention when he provided a 6% tip… and added it up wrong! $48.30 + $3.00 = $52.30 in the land of Fildebrandt. Did I mention this guy is the shadow minister of finance! No wonder we haven’t seen a shadow budget… this guy needs to nail down addition before we let him near the books.

    Reply
  6. Laraine

    Just as I refuse to go to restaurants that serve substandard brew, I most likely would not vote for anyone who offered me sludge coffee. It’s an insult really. You just know they’re going to cut corners everywhere, probably starting with health care and education.

    Reply
  7. Darcy

    Kurtis….but it wasn’t $5000 for 4 years of coffee….that was money spent over the course of just 3 MONTHS if I’m not mistaken. The actual costs words out to something like $54/day………for coffee.

    Reply

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