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Calgary MLA apologizes for her part in Redford expense scandal

CALGARY- As critics continue to call for a major government overhaul following an expense scandal involving former premier Alison Redford, a Calgary MLA is apologizing for being associated with it.

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Two years ago, Redford and a handful of cabinet ministers flew on a government plane to Grande Prairie. While they initially said it was for government business, an auditor general’s report found it was a partisan trip for the PC party.

Donna Kennedy-Glans, the representative for Calgary-Varsity, was on a Calgary-bound flight from Grande Prairie. She issued a statement on Friday that read in part:

“I wish to apologize, personally, for inappropriate travel on a government airplane from Grande Prairie to Calgary on the evening of October 25th 2012. Together with other PC MLAs, I was in Grande Prairie on that date to attend the PC Party’s Northern Alberta Leader’s Dinner, and did not make sufficient enquiries about logistics of the flight that evening, after the dinner, from Grande Prairie to Calgary. I apologize for making assumptions about the integrity of the flight logistics. 

I am sorry. I do understand the lines between politics and governance. The PCAA has undertaken to reimburse these costs and I apologize personally for my error.”

Kennedy-Glans left the Tory caucus in March, following a dispute with Redford.

Which other ministers were on the partisan flights listed in the auditor general’s report?

1. October 25, 2012 – (Edmonton – Grande Prairie – Calgary)*

Fred Horne – Minister of Health (and MLA for Edmonton-Rutherford)Wayne Drysdale – Minister of Transportation Minister and Minister of Infrastructure (and MLA for Grande Prairie-Wapiti)Cal Dallas – Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations (and MLA for Red Deer-South)Christine Cusanelli – then Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation, current MLA for Calgary-CurrieKen Hughes – former Minister of Municipal Affairs and Minister of Energy, current MLA for Calgary-WestWayne Cao – MLA for Calgary-FortEverett McDonald – MLA for Grande Prairie-SmokyDonna Kennedy-Glans – MLA for Calgary-Varsity

*Not each ministers was on all three legs of the trip

2. August 26, 2013 – Lethbridge flight

Thomas Lukaszuk, a PC leadership candidate, flew to Lethbridge from Medicine Hat on the same plane that had dropped off Redford and an aide there earlier.The auditor general report released Thursday stated that Redford was there for a golf tournament. When asked about the flight on Thursday, Lukaszuk stated that he “doesn’t golf.”

Wildrose Party pushing for more to be done

“The fact that you have staff members who feel intimidated to the point where they break the rules and do workarounds, that is something that requires a full public inquiry into all the matters that the auditor general looked at for the premier office,” said Wildrose leader Danielle Smith.

Tory leadership candidate Thomas Lukaszuk maintains that’s not necessary.

“We don’t need a public inquiry. I’m just going to open up the vault and throw it all out, and let an independent party review it all.”

The RCMP is now reviewing the auditor general’s report, to see if criminal charges are warranted.

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