Danielle In QP, November 22: Political Party Financial Contributions

Ms Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. There appears to be a double standard in the way government handles health expenses and illegal donations. One health employee who made lavish but legal expense claims was fired. Another health employee who claimed expenses directly related to partisan political activity, which, of course, is against the law, still has her job. Is this because the person they fired wasn’t the Premier’s sister?

Mr. Lukaszuk: Indeed, Mr. Speaker, there are double standards. While this government is trying to focus on governing this province and reflecting what we have committed to do during the last election, there are a number of double standards. The opposition continues to dredge through receipts. But what they won’t tell you is a double standard is this. For example, the Leader of the Official Opposition signed off on inappropriate expense claims and threw her staffer under the bus to take the blame. What they won’t tell you is that the MLA for Airdrie solicits political donations from the president’s office at Olds College. Lastly, what they don’t tell you, I’ll tell you later.

The Speaker: The hon. leader.

Ms Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We’d love to see the employee in question pay those expenses back.

Now that they have been caught, however, the government points to changes that they’ve made in the hopes that we’ll all ignore their past transgressions. But, Mr. Speaker, promising to never do it again isn’t good enough. When will the minister clean house and discipline every single employee who has broken the law?

Mr. Lukaszuk: I know, Mr. Speaker, you waited eagerly to hear the rest. Lastly, what they won’t tell you is that while they’re accusing Catholic charities and organizations and pejoratively referring to them as holy people who take individuals out for lunch or a drink, they won’t share all their receipts. I’m looking at a receipt that shows that the leader of the Liberal opposition was treated by, quote, unquote, holy people at an establishment, a local watering hole in Edmonton, on a Tuesday, a weekday, at 2 p.m.

The Speaker: The hon. leader.

Ms Smith: Thank you. The Premier blames the opposition for daring to raise such questions, and I can see that the Deputy Premier feels the same. He expresses outrage. He implies that this is innuendo, but it’s not innuendo. It’s a clear statement of fact. Legal expenses, not a relative: the person is fired. Illegal donations, the Premier’s sister: not fired. Why?

Mr. Lukaszuk: Mr. Speaker, unlike the members of the opposition who choose to focus on dredging, I said very clearly that we won’t get into that because that doesn’t make Alberta any better of a province. We’ll leave that to them. But I will tell you what we will do. We will make sure that there is a process in place, that when they actually come up with any evidence or any issues, they have a place to turn to, where an independent investigation will take place. We’ll also focus on governing this province and reflecting what Albertans truly asked us to do. Mr. Speaker, if there are issues, they know what the process is. The process is diligent. We’ll provide them with any answers that they want relevant to our receipts and the ones that they won’t show you.