CALGARY, AB (September 26, 2012): Premier Alison Redford deliberately deceived Albertans during the provincial election by saying PC MLAs on the infamous no-meet committee will pay back “every penny” they received, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
News yesterday that each member of the 61-MLA PC caucus personally chipped in $2,700 to cover the debts owed by a handful of PC no-meet committee members shows the PCs continue to duck accountability on the issue and Redford never intended to follow through on her tough talk during the election. “Redford intentionally deceived Albertans during the last election,” Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson said. “She said that the no-meet committee members would pay back every penny, meaning that none of them would be enriched because they sat on the committee either directly or indirectly, but here they are walking away with thousands of dollars in free money. Redford and her entire caucus owe Albertans an apology for their deliberate deception.” Including PC MLAs Pearl Calahasen ($15,000), Alana Delong ($31,000), Jeff Johnson ($14,500), Moe Amery ($31,000), Frank Oberle ($14,000), Bridget Pastoor ($31,600), Naresh Bhardwaj ($6,000), George Rogers ($12,000), and Genia Leskiw ($31,700), more than $186,000 was collected in payments for work that was not done in meetings that were not held. However, with each only repaying $2,700, those nine MLAs still get more than $162,000 for doing nothing. Opposition MLAs, including Wildrose MLAs, were quick to return money they received from the committee. Redford immediately dismissed the repayments as a “political stunt” before saying MLAs would return a tiny portion of the money and then issuing what has amounted to a false promise to return “every penny” out of desperation during the election campaign. “This must be what passes for accountability in the PC caucus – a behind-closed-doors shell game that absolves these members of their obligation to return to taxpayers money they did not earn,” Wildrose MLA Bruce McAllister said. “We are calling on these members to personally accept responsibility for their actions, return the money they personally received, and stop relying on others to bail them out.”