Redford and Wildrose agree, Premier’s travel costs for Mandela funeral were excessive
Published Wednesday, February 5, 2014 6:11PM MST Last Updated Wednesday, February 5, 2014 6:33PM MST
Premier Alison Redford prepares to board a flight in Ottawa
Eyebrows are being raised around the province after the cost of Premier Redford’s travel bill for her trip to South Africa surfaced.
The total cost of Redford’s December trip to attend the funeral of Nelson Mandela is estimated at $45,000.
Premier Redford has not apologized for the cost, but admits if she knew what her travel plans would total, she would have likely stayed home.
Redford’s travel consisted of a private jet flight to Ottawa at a cost of $14,000. In the nation’s capital, she boarded a federal government flight to South Africa. The Premier chose not to join other Canadian delegates on their return flight, and a last minute, first class ticket was booked on her behalf.
“I'm surprised by the number, I don't think it's acceptable,” said Redford. “I was disappointed. You can appreciate it was a very fluid week and you can appreciate that I'm not making my own travel arrangements in those circumstances.”
Members of the Wildrose party are infuriated by Redford’s whopping travel bill and are calling on the Premier to repay a portion of the cost.
"I don't think many Albertans can believe that Premier Redford didn't know when she took a private jet across the country that that would cost a lot of money,” said Wildrose finance critic Rob Anderson. “I don't think that they really believe her when she says that she didn't know that taking business executive seating from Johannesburg back to Edmonton wouldn't cost a pretty penny,"
Redford had lived in South Africa in the early 1990’s and worked alongside Nelson Mandela during the country’s transition to an open democratic state.