LaGrange outspends cabinet colleagues on office supplies

Alberta’s Official Opposition is giving a failing grade to Education Minister Adriana LaGrange for running “the most lavishly supplied ministerial office” in the province.

According to expenses posted on the Government of Alberta website, the office for LaGrange, Red Deer-North MLA, spent $7,063.18 on “good, supplies, services and other expenses” in the month of May.

Spending the second most on supplies last month was the office for Labour Minister Jason Copping ($4,927.20).

Conversely, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen, Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA, spent a mere $168.28 in May on the same line item.

“Minister LaGrange needs to produce the receipts and explain to Alberta taxpayers how she spends more on office supplies in a day than some of her colleagues spend in a month,” said Sarah Hoffman, NDP Education Critic. “She must explain to Alberta families why students are losing teachers and educational assistants while her office burns through tax dollars at an extravagant rate.”

In his first month in office in June 2015, former Education Minister David Eggen spent $193.95 on office supplies.

“Following the election our government hit the ground running to implement our commitments to Albertans. The costs reported in May reflect the startup costs associated with staffing our office,” Colin Aitchison, Minister LaGrange’s spokesman said in a statement.

“We anticipate this cost will balance out with other ministerial offices in the coming months as everyone else finalizes staffing and startup costs. With our initial staffing complete, we anticipate office expenditures to reduce to cover regular day-to-day operations.

“It is worth noting that in March 2019, then Premier Rachel Notley’s office spent $215,975.03 while in May 2019 Premier Kenney’s office only spent $9,959.56. If the NDP want to compare numbers, they should examine their fiscal habits and the financial state that they left our province in.”