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Redford will wait for inquiry on sister’s spending

Premier Alison Redford will wait for an independent inquiry before she makes any conclusions about whether her sister spent taxpayers’ dollars inappropriately while working with the Calgary Health Region several years ago.

Redford, who spoke to a dozen reporters after handing out Diamond Jubilee medals in Red Deer on Wednesday, said she’s fully confident that due process will reveal what happened involving her sister, Lynn Redford.

“I think it would be totally inappropriate for me as premier to comment on my sister’s activities,” said Redford inside the Sheraton Red Deer Hotel on Wednesday. “That doesn’t mean I don’t have confidence in my sister.”

Lynn Redford, who works as a project manager for Alberta Health Services, has come under fire this week for reportedly billing taxpayers for almost $3,500 in expenses relating to Progressive Conservative party functions. This happened between 2005 and 2008 while she worked as a government relations advisor for the now defunct Calgary Health Region.

The Opposition Wildrose Party obtained the information through a freedom of information request.

When asked if she was aware of what her sister was doing, Redford said that these incidents reportedly occurred before she was elected as MLA in 2008.

The premier said she has tremendous confidence in the office of the chief electoral officer, as well as the independent judicial inquiry into queue-jumping in the health system, for looking into allegations such as those involving her sister.

“We have systems in place to determine whether or not this stuff is accurate,” said Redford. “There’s no reason for me to get involved in telling a judicial inquiry or a chief electoral officer what to do.”

The province has raised the bar when it comes to transparency and openness, Redford added. Travel and expense claims for MLAs, agencies, boards and commissions began being posted online as of Oct. 1.

Redford also said they’ve introduced other measures, including the Election Accountability Amendment Act, this week. It will address a lot of concerns that people have regarding these activities, she said.

This legislation would give the chief electoral officer power to publicly divulge the names of those who give and those who get illegal political donations.

Redford said that other people can make allegations in the legislature, outside the legislature, and they can use aggressive language. That’s all politics, she said.

She declined to talk further about her family.

“I would say only that politics is different than it has been for some time,” she said. “And I care a lot about my sister and you can imagine if it was your sister, that there would probably be some difficult moments.”

Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith wrote a letter to health inquiry Justice John Vertes, calling Lynn Redford a “person of interest.” She is calling on Lynn Redford to appear before the inquiry.

Redford said the Wildrose Party is showing a deep lack of respect for an independent judicial inquiry.

“If we had done that, someone would be standing on the steps of the legislature saying that we had politically interfered with an independent judicial process.”

ltester@reddeeradvocate.com

 
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