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Redford hides truth on her involvement in tobacco litigation contract

EDMONTON, AB (November 29, 2012): Premier Alison Redford is deliberately misleading Albertans about her involvement in the awarding of a $10 billion tobacco litigation contract to a law consortium connected to her ex-husband and long-time political confidant, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today. 

Yesterday in the Legislature, Redford flatly denied that she made the decision to award the contracts to International Tobacco Recovery Lawyers, saying “I was not the Justice minister at the time that the government made that decision.” She went on to say that she had resigned her position as Justice Minister (which occurred on Feb. 16, 2011) to run for PC leader before the decision to award the contract to ITRL was made. Documents released under Freedom of Information laws prove otherwise:

  • As Justice Minister, Redford personally signed a memo awarding the contract to ITRL, saying “… the best choice for Alberta will be the International Tobacco Recovery Lawyers.” (Dec. 14, 2010)
  • A memo from Assistant Deputy Minister Grant Sprague to Deputy Minister Ray Bodnarek saying, “Shortly before Christmas, Minister Redford selected the International Tobacco Recovery Lawyers.” (Jan. 13, 2011)
  • Letters of rejection from the Justice department to the unsuccessful firms that say, “the quality of proposals made the assessment of the proposals very challenging. It became obvious that each proposal had their own unique qualities. I regret to advise that your proposal was not successful.” (Dec. 22, 2010)
  • An e-mail from Sprague to Lorne Merryweather, the Executive Director of Litigation at Justice, saying “Call made to Karsten (sic) Jensen at the successful consortium.”
  • An e-mail from Carsten Jensen, partner of one of the firms in the ITRL consortium, to the Justice department saying, “We were very happy to learn that we will be working with you on the health care recovery claim.” (Jan. 6, 2011)

Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith says the documents contradict Redford’s claims that she was not Justice Minister when the contract was awarded to ITRL. “The decision to award the contract to her ex-husband’s firm was clearly hers and hers alone. As Justice Minister, she made the decision,” Smith said. “For her to stand in the Legislature and state the exact opposite is a deliberate attempt to hide the truth and is frankly shocking for someone in her position and her background.” Wildrose will bring forward a point of privilege in the Legislature today against Redford’s misleading remarks as to her responsibility for awarding the contract. “Premier Redford must be held accountable for misleading Albertans in the Legislature yesterday,” Wildrose House Leader Rob Anderson said. “Albertans are willing to forgive honest mistakes but they will not tolerate deliberate dishonesty from their leaders.”