Questions remain after auditor general’s report

By: Wheel Staff

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014 10:43 am

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It’s all Alison’s fault, at least that’s what the Progressive Conservative government wants Albertans to believe.

However, auditor general Merwan Saher’s report into former premier Alison Redford’s expenses and the use of government aircraft leaves several unanswered questions and the blame doesn’t lay entirely at her feet.

In his report, Saher states Redford misused government resources for personal and partisan purposes.

Premier Dave Hancock called in the RCMP a day before the report was even released, but opposition parties say it’s not enough and an inquiry is the only way to get to the bottom of the situation. The report paints a disturbing portrait that goes beyond the premier’s travel habits. Saher makes strong statements, particularly about an “aura of power” surrounding the premier’s office that left people unwilling to challenge Redford’s used of government planes or her expenses. It then goes on to state decisions were made in ways that “avoided leaving the premier with personal responsibility.”

Leaving elected officials with deniability over decisions and creating a culture of fear of speaking out, whether deliberately or not, is dangerous for any government because it removes any sense of responsibility or accountability

There are still several questions that haven’t been answered.

Did other ministers know about inappropriate use of government aircraft?

What responsibility does finance minister Doug Horner have in this issue? The department of finance is responsible for overseeing the Province’s fleet of planes. Finance minister Doug Horner has said his ministry merely served as a booking agent for the planes and responsibility for any abuse lays with those who booked the flights.

Most importantly, how far did the supposed “aura of power” extend?

Albertans deserve to know the answers to these questions. However, if PC MLAs won’t step up and answer them or the RCMP investigation isn’t enough, then an inquiry may be needed.


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