EDMONTON — The fallout continues to grow a day after the opposition called for a criminal investigation into former premier Alison Redford’s travel habits.
Now Redford’s former campaign manager has weighed in on the controversy, saying that while she still considers Redford a friend, she is disappointed in her old boss.
Susan Elliot also says she’s never seen such a level of hate directed at a particular politician.
Earlier this week, the CBC reported that a leaked review from auditor general Merwan Saher found that passenger lists on government aircraft were altered so Redford could fly alone.
The review said Redford’s staff blocked others from flying on government planes by booking seats in advance and then removing passenger names before printing the flight manifest.
Redford has denied any personal wrong-doing and said it would be untrue to say she flew on the government airplane alone.
On Wednesday, Elliot said she is disillusioned.
“I have watched with unbelievable sadness as this unravelled,” she said.
Elliot called Redford’s $45,000 trip to South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s funeral troubling and said the latest controversy is too much.
“I don’t believe that scheduling staff come up with schemes like this all on their own, without some kind of pressure or indication from above that that sort of thing would be appreciated,” she said.
But she added she hasn’t given up on Redford.
“Is she still my friend? I believe she is,” Elliot said. “The time people need their friends most is when they are going through difficult times. But I do believe we need to turn the page and move forward.”
Meanwhile, Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said distrust of the governing party extends beyond Redford to others in cabinet, including Finance Minister Doug Horner, head of the ministry in charge of government travel.
“Either he was wilfully blind, or trying to pretend he’s not responsible, or he wasn’t managing it and was incompetent,” Smith said. “Either way, he has to be held to account for it as well.”
The movement to push Redford out of caucus also continues to grow, with at least one of those vying for her vacated post agreeing the former premier should give up her seat in Calgary Elbow if RCMP get involved.
“It has appalled Albertans and it appalls me,” said Tory leadership candidate Jim Prentice. “It’s a low point in Alberta politics.
“If the authorities investigate, and if that includes the RCMP and there’s an investigation, anyone who is part of that cannot sit in caucus.”