Alberta Premier Redford - 'A high roller on the taxpayers dime'

Alberta Premier Redford - 'A high roller on the taxpayers dime'

Edmonton : Canada | Oct 03, 2012 at 7:58 AM PDT
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Alison Redford, a Liberal masquerading under the progressive conservative banner, apparently has no problem living on the ritz on taxpayers money. Her recently released expenses, dating back to 2008, revealed a lavish lifestyle, including professional fees to the Law Society of Alberta.

Redford charged the taxpayers $1,884.75 to maintain her membership at the bar and again $2480.50, including a $100 penalty for being a month late.

She has recently been criticized for her many trips, supposedly in the interests of Alberta. These trips included her recent trip to the Olympics in London, where her party paid for 18 rooms that weren't used, at a cost of $118,000. But hey, she saved us $121,000 by cutting back on her entourage, quite the deal.

The premier's office said that Redford is a lawyer by profession and that justifies paying for the membership with taxpayers money.

According to Wildrose Party critic, Shayne Saskiw, who happens to be a lawyer, there is no reason for Alberta taxpayers to pay for the premier’s Law Society membership because she is not required to practice law to fulfil her duties.

“I just find it an absurdity that it would be assumed that employers would pay for these fees when their employee isn’t actually an active practicing lawyer within their field. If you are a corporate counsel that corporation would reimburse your fees, but in this case clearly her Law Society insurance is not required to fulfil her duties,” Saskiw said.

The fee for a non practicing lawyer is only a few hundred dollars.

The release of her expenses has revealed that Redford often flew executive class during her travels and stayed in some of the finest hotels.

She spent $12,500 for a flight to China and also billed $915 for the hire of an interpretor for three days. Presumeable there is an interpreter available in Alberta's Trade office in China.

While in Washington, D.C., Redford stayed at the historic Hay-Adams luxury hotel. The cost for one night was only $915 for one night. While in D.C. she met with lobbyists, pres,umably to sell the importance of the Alberta Oil Sands. She also stayed in New York City's Waldorf-Astoria.

The sad part is that the premier's office defends these expenditures as part of doing business and that the premier is a 24/7 job. Redford was submitting credit card bills for her expense claims and was directed by the province's auditors to submit detailed receipts. She frequently submitted receipts that were marked only "hosting," without providing names.

It should be no surprise that Brian Mason, Leader of Alberta's New Democratic Party, described Alison Redford as "A high roller on the taxpayers dime." He also remarked that Redford is not the Queen of England.

“For her to be staying at the Waldorf Astoria is inappropriate. She’s not the Queen of England,” the NDP leader said.

While Alberta does well because of the oil patch, there are people suffering. The latest victims are cattle farmers, who have taken a hit because of the E-coli break out. The premier has insisted that the food supply is safe, despite the XL Foods processing plant being closed down in Brooks, Alberta and the recall of beef products being expanded daily.

The XL Foods processing plant processes about on third of all beef products in the province. As the market gets flooded with cattle farmers need to sell before winter, prices continue to drop.

Thirteen E-coli cases have now also emerged in Saskatchewan, although they may not be related to Alberta beef.

Redford is the first female premier in Alberta and part of a 41-year-old progressive conservative dynasty. The abuse of taxpayer's money continues, with little regret. Has the Alberta government changed since Redford is in office. The answer appears to be a clear no, but hey we have heard it before. "Change takes time."

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Alison Redford
Alison Redford
From: 5of7
Karl Gotthardt is based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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