Danielle In QP, November 26: Openness and Transparency in Government

 
Ms Smith: Mr. Speaker, I am concerned about the growing body of evidence that this government, rather than raising the bar on openness and transparency in Alberta, is doing exactly the opposite.

Instead of a quest for truth we get stalling, roadblocks, and hiding. On the simple issue of health care expenses the only formal investigation is looking into one individual at one health region. Why won’t the minister order the release of all of the expenses of all of the executives for all of the regions dating back to 2005?

Mr. Horne: Well, Mr. Speaker, it’s disappointing that apparently we’re going to go through a second week of questioning on this same line. This question has been asked and answered. I’ve lost count of the number of times it’s been asked and answered. The question that is before the government, and the question that should matter to all members of this House is, in fact, the expense policies that are in place today for travel, accommodation, hospitality, and all the other expenses. I think we’ve proven clearly that we have the most aggressive set of policies in the country. Everything we do in health care is to support better publicly funded health care. These policies support wise use of taxpayers’ dollars in this regard.

The Speaker: The hon. leader.

Ms Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This isn’t the only example. There are also the examples of illegal campaign donations. The new legislation that the government is touting as the toughest in the land shuts the door on most of the past transgressions. This quote applies. “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” Where is the transparency?

Mr. Lukaszuk: Mr. Speaker, it’s peculiar that the member would say that because these policies for campaign donations – she wants to go back all the way to 2005. I note that the Member for Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills was the policy vice-president for the PC party till 2010, the Member for Calgary-Fish Creek till 2010, the prior Member for Fort-McMurray till 2010, the Member for Airdrie. They were all developers of this policy. Now they choose to step aside and demand transparency. While this government is actually introducing transparencies, all they are doing is criticizing the policies that they were part of developing.

The Speaker: The hon. leader.

Ms Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This has been against the law since 2004, and it’s not the only example. The queue-jumping inquiry is restricted, too. It can’t look backward to where the evidence points. Rather, it seems designed to produce a result that the government can spin as a clean bill of health on ethics. I wonder: if it was someone other than the government family accused of misdeeds like this, wouldn’t the investigations be a bit more vigorous and thorough?

Mr. Lukaszuk: Mr. Speaker, yet another innuendo. I’ve said clearly on a number of occasions that no matter who it is, if you have evidence, present it, and that person will be investigated. However, let me show you the difference between leadership and the lack thereof. When the member of the opposition files illegal expense claims, she throws her secretary under a bus.

Mr. Anderson: Point of order.

Mr. Lukaszuk: When she ends up with intolerant candidates, she throws their associations under a bus. When she loses an election, she throws gullible, quote, unquote, Albertans under a bus. That is not leadership. What’s happening on this sid