EDMONTON – The man who helped Alison Redford get voted in as premier believes the blame on alleged inappropriate travel spending should be extended beyond his former boss and her office.
“Six cabinet ministers were on the plane with Alison Redford when they went to Grande Prairie for a party fundraiser,” said Stephen Carter, Redford’s former chief of staff and campaign manager.
“Did they not notice that it was the government plane? Were they unaware that the government plane was a little bit nicer than the plane that the government traditionally charters?”
Carter agrees with Auditor General Merwan Saher’s assessment that there was an “aura of power” surrounding Redford and her staff, but maintains PC MLAs should have challenged the premier’s travel spending despite the career risk it likely would have created.
“To suggest that it’s not the fault of those other MLAs and those other cabinet ministers, who also could have stood up, but they know what would have happened if they would have stood up and opposed the premier…they would have lost their jobs.”
Read More: Redford’s misuse of travel spending caused by ‘aura of power’: auditor general
Carter claims Redford’s alleged inappropriate use of government aircraft didn’t compare to former premier Ralph Klein.
“Klein’s use of the planes is notorious. He makes Alison Redford look like she wasn’t even trying, but he had the power, and at that time that was acceptable and he was able to keep going.”
Klein’s travel habits on government planes was questioned during his 14 years as Alberta’s premier.
Read More: Alberta PC government has faced years of criticism for its aircraft fleet
In 2004, the Liberals questioned Klein about a trip he had taken to Nova Scotia, in which a government plane dropped him off at a exclusive golf resort before he went to the premiers’ conference in Halifax.
In March 2005, the Klein government’s use of aircraft once again came under scrutiny when one of the government’s four planes arrived in Edmonton carrying the lieutenant governor.