EDMONTON, AB (November 19, 2012): The Wildrose Official Opposition is renewing its call for a full-scale investigation of health executive expenses dating back to 2005 after discovering a senior health official with the Calgary Health Region charged Alberta taxpayers for several political contributions to the Progressive Conservative party and the Liberal Party of Canada.
According to information obtained through a freedom of information request, Lynn Redford, as the Government Relations Adviser for the Calgary Health Region, repeatedly expensed PC party fundraisers and other items related to partisan political events between 2005 and 2008. Her 90-page expense report can be viewed here. Redford expensed four $75-tickets to a Calgary-Elbow PC association fundraiser in 2005, $200 for registration to the 2005 PC AGM, $100 for a fundraiser in support of Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill MLA Neil Brown and a $40 donation to the Liberal Party of Canada at a breakfast with former Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh. One particular receipt to Redford from the PC party came with a note back to Redford saying “Please let us know to whom the tax receipt should go.” Under Section 34 of the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosures Act, tax receipts must be issued to the name under which the contribution was made. The PC government has reversed course on a sweeping audit of all Capital Health executive expenses announced in August. The audit will now only investigate the expenses of disgraced former AHS executive Allaudin Merali. Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith says the partisan political nature of Lynn Redford’s expenses merit a system-wide investigation across all former health regions and the current Alberta Health Services. “This is one executive out of hundreds in one out of nine health regions. Albertans deserve to know how all executives across the entire health care system are spending tax dollars,” Smith said. “If Ms. Redford’s expense claims are any indication of how other executives behaved, the scope of the AHS audit needs to be wider, deeper and far more detailed.” Out of the $7,668.28 expensed between 2005 and 2008 in her role with CHR, nearly half of the claims are related to political activities. In fact, the $3,448.14 Redford expensed on things like PC events and MLA barbecues represented 45% of her total expenses. In addition to the direct political contributions Redford was reimbursed by taxpayers for, she also expensed items such as vases, ice, alcohol and flowers for MLA barbecues and offices as well as several mileage claims to travel to and from PC party events. “It appears as though a big part of Ms. Redford’s job with Calgary Health Region was to meet regularly with PC officials and support the PC party,” Wildrose Health Critic Heather Forsyth said. “Her expenses raise legitimate questions about government conduct and the prudent stewardship of precious health dollars across the entire province.”