5 startling things from Alberta AG's report on Alison Redford
Alberta Premier Alison Redford announces her resignation in Edmonton, on Wednesday, March 19, 2014. (Jason Franson / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Thursday, August 7, 2014 7:03PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 7, 2014 7:36PM EDT
Alberta's auditor general released a scathing report Thursday morning outlining the "inappropriate" use of public resources by former Alberta premier Alison Redford and her office.
- Related story: Alison Redford 'inappropriately' used public resources: AG
Here are five things that were revealed in Auditor General Merwan Saher's report:
1) Use of government aircraft
Saher found that Redford's office inappropriately used government aircraft, with government planes being ordered for the premier for both "personal and partisan" purposes.
Because government aircraft are paid for by the public, Saher concluded that they should only be used for government business.
However, the report found five examples of when Redford flew on a government plane when both government and partisan business occurred, and three examples of when Redford used a government plane and "only partisan business" occurred.
The Alberta Progressive Conservative party said it will pay the cost to cover the three flights Redford took to attend party events.
The report also found two trips taken by Redford in 2013 to Vancouver and Jasper, where she flew on government aircraft, and where there was a "greater personal time component to these trips than a government business component."
On both of these trips Redford attended government business meetings, and she paid back some of the costs stemming from the trip to Vancouver.
2) Flying family members
(Jason Franson / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The report also found that Redford's daughter flew on a government plane 50 times between September 2011 and March 2014. On four of these flights she flew with a friend, and twice she flew without her mother.
3) "Block booking"
Redford's office engaged "block booking" government planes, a practice in which they'd block extra tickets on the plane to give the "appearance that the aircraft was so full that other passengers could not ride on the same flight," the report found.
Saher said false "place-holder" passengers would be booked for the empty seats, and then removed before the trip sheet was printed. Redford and her former chief of staff denied knowing anything about the practice, he said. However, Saher said that based off interviews the idea appeared to have come from the premier's office.
4) The 11th floor "premier's suite"
(Jason Franson / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Redford's office became actively involved in a plan to have the 11th floor of the provincially-owned Edmonton Federal Building redeveloped into a "premier's suite," according to the AG report.
Saher noted that while there were always plans to have a "premier's den" in the original plan, the new design called for a residential space intended for the premier.
He noted that the Department of Infrastructure accepted new floor plans that were signed by the premier's executive assistant.
"The department told us that it viewed Premier Redford as the authorized decision maker for the 11th floor user group (cabinet and government caucus)," Saher said.
The new plans included "two rooms with sleeping and grooming quarters with clothes storage for an adult and one teenager."
The change in design cost about $173,000, according to the report. The proposed bedrooms were changed back to meeting rooms after Redford resigned as premier.
5) Trip to India/Switzerland cost $450K, not $131K
(Photo courtesy Alberta Government)
The report found that the cost associated with a mission trip to India and Switzerland was not properly disclosed.
The mission, which Redford, her staff and other MLAs attended, was reported to cost $131,374. However, Saher noted that this total did not take into account the costs associated with advance planning, security and other government employees who went on the trip.
"The disclosure of those costs would have brought the total disclosed cost of that mission to approximately $450,000," the report said. "When looking at the results and the value proposition of international travel, the full cost needs to be understood and evaluated."
With files from The Canadian Press
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