Alison Redford, the premier of Alberta, Canada, has responded to criticism of her attendance at the secretive Bilderberg Conference, which takes place from May 31 to June 3 in Chantilly, Virginia.
CBC News first reported on Redford's plans to take part in the conference, which brings together around 130 top diplomats, heads of state, Fortune 100 CEOs and power brokers from around the world.
A press anouncement released by the Canadian government states that she will discuss monetary policy, ecological challenges and responsible development of natural resources at the annual meeting. Redford's participation will cost taxpayers around $19,000.
Danielle Smith, the Leader of the Wildrose Oppostion Party, spoke out against Redford's attendance. "We have somebody who's appointed himself the bully of the block, calling out Alberta's oilsands industry. And rather than meet with him, she's decided to go to a secretive meeting in Virginia?" Smith said, according to the Calgary Herald.
Redford assured the legislature that she will be attending the summit on behalf of Alberta. "The job of a premier is to advance Alberta's interests around the world, in a number of different forums, and I feel incredibly privileged to have been invited to this," she stated.
Despite Redford's pledge, thousands of people from around the world are descending upon Chantilly to protest the event and call for transparency. An "Occupy Bilderberg" invitation on Facebook has already recieved well over 1,000 confirmed RSVPs. However, since the meetings of the Bilderberg Group are closed to the press and no minutes are officially released, the public may never know exactly what the consortium discusses over the weekend.