Despite saying the words 'world class,' 'clean energy provider,' and 'sustainable development' enough times to make your head spin, the Progressive Conservative government revealed its true colours last night and showed once again that rhetoric is more important than reality to this government when it comes to protecting the environment.

At a time when Alberta's environment is being destroyed, tar sands communities are reporting growing health issues, and the province is facing mounting international criticism because of the impacts of a toxic tar sands industry, the Progressive Conservative government, instead of showing leadership to solve these problems, has responded by slashing the environment budget once again. The budget is down 30 per cent since 2007, a cut of over $66 million. Over the same period the department of the environment saw its communication budget increase by over 60 per cent —a telling example of what this governments priorities really are: PR, not protection.

The entire environmental budget for monitoring, science and reporting now stands at $17 million which is less than the $25 million the province spent on a single PR campaign to greenwash the tar sands.

Overall, the Department of the Environment total budget estimate for 2011-12 is just under $196 million dollars (2011-12 budget estimate). Compare that to the more than $1 billion dollars in subsidies the Alberta government gives to the oil and gas industry every year. Alberta can’t be a leader when the Progressive Conservatives spend more money exacerbating the problems every year than they do in solving them.

The numbers speak for themselves.

Alberta Environment Spending - Officer of the Minister, Deputy Minister and Communications

Alberta Environment Spending - Office of the Minister, Deputy Minister and Communications

Budget for Monitoring, Compliance and Standards

Alberta Environment Budget for Monitoring, Compliance and Standards

Alberta Environment Spending on Communications

Alberta Environment Spending on Communications

Total operating budget - Department of Environment

Total Operating Budget - Department of Environment