Finally sanity (and morality) have prevailed.
Last week, Premier Alison Redford announced she has repaid the nearly $45,000 of taxpayers’ money that she spent on her trip to Nelson Mandela’s funeral. The announcement came a week after Redford had admitted to spending about $3,000 of government funds flying her daughter and her daughter’s friends around on government planes. Redford has agreed to repay those funds as well.
Once again, it would seem that the voice of the average people in politics is stronger than many think it to be. Clearly, our premier realized that paying back only $3,000 of irresponsibly spent money would not be enough to content the people of Alberta.
While Redford has (finally) made the right choice and done something the people of Alberta can support, her actions still do raise some concerns.
Critics will continue to point out how the premier should not have spent that money in the first place and Redford only paid it back in an attempt to save face after realizing she could not afford to lose any more of Alberta’s trust. Others will comment on how flip-flopping from her initial decision (even though the initial decision was the wrong one) does not show strong leadership.
While these things are true, they do not change the fact that Redford has done the right thing in paying back these monies. Sure, she only did it because the people of Alberta made her, but does it really matter if it gets the premier’s spending under control?
That being said, we are not about to let Redford off the hook either. She has made a good first step to regaining our trust, but she still has a long way to go.
Redford has let the issue of her irresponsible spending fester far too long for it to be forgiven simply by paying the money back. From now on, all of Alberta will be watching her like a hawk. Next, it appears Redford will have to regain the trust of her own caucus. In the wake of Redford announcing to repay the $45,000, MLA Len Webber announced that he has left the PC party to sit as an independent and accused the premier of being a bully, prone to fits of rage and irresponsible. He has also said that there are about 20 other members considering leaving the party because of Redford’s leadership. Webber and his claims have been dismissed by Deputy Premier Dave Hancock as being “very sad.” However, it has become clear Redford’s style of leadership must change.