Both Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil and Alberta’s Alison Redford attended the funeral of Nelson Mandela in South Africa last December. McNeil spent $946.44 and Redford spent $45,000 for the same trip.
Alison Redford refused to admit that her travel expenses were wasteful and did not pay a single cent back. McNeil’s name was not even mentioned in association with the concept of waste.
Apparently, Ms. Redford believes that she is entitled to that kind of lavish travel arrangements, not the least because she is the head of the government of supposedly the fastest growing and richest province in Canada.
While that may be true in terms of statistical data, she is also the least popular premier in all of Canada.
Despite her brilliant looking resume as a human rights lawyer with United Nations appointed by the Secretary General in addition to various other international assignments and her stint as Minister of Justice and Attorney General in Alberta, Ms. Redford is no better than her predecessor Ed Stelmach in steering the province out of its current bottleneck.
Since Ms. Redford took over from Mr. Stelmach in October 2011, not only has she managed to blow into thin air billions of dollars in the province’s reserve funds, she has also succeeded in raking up a debt of, so far, $8 billion.
In all fairness, one should not ignore the devastation brought about by last year’s flooding and the subsequent financial burden the province had to shoulder, but the point where Ms. Redford would end up was seen as early as December 2012 in a report published by the Fraser Institute.
Now that Ms. Redford has apparently determined that she would rather not lead by example, like taking inexpensive trips and behaving frugally in her international engagements, she has embarked on new policies of clawing back the benefits and entitlements of the people of the province by reducing the promised pensions.
It is true that there is massive inequality between the pensions of the public sector employees and private sector workforce in favor of the former, but this does not justify what has been announced by Alberta Finance Minister Doug Horner.
The Minister declared on Monday that, for the sake of “sustainability”, the government was clipping various benefits and entitlements of the would be-pensioners while at the same time bringing in new arrangements making the public sector employees work a lot longer in order to win the same entitlements that current pensioners enjoy.
Public sector employee unions fumed at the news and cried foul at the simple fact that Ms. Redford and her government acted arbitrarily and did not even think of consulting the unions.
Not the kind of policy making and implementation one would expect from, who else, a government headed by a human rights lawyer.
It looks like MS. Redford and her government are growing increasingly desperate to maintain any semblance of credibility, and therefore, are beginning to resort to measures that might only hasten the arrival of their doomsday.
Ed Stelmach lost all his public support for two big mistakes: He antagonized a powerful interest group, the landowners, in an effort to appease the energy giants with the promise of cheap expansion of the energy grid; and he royally messed up the health care system.
Alison Redford is following in the footsteps of her predecessor, that is in the line of committing errors. Her government has antagonized first the backbone of any administration, the bureaucracy, by targeting the public sector workers’ wages, and now she is about to create a huge club of pensioners hostile to her government as a result of her clawbacks.
Looks like with premiers like them, Progressive Conservatives do not need any real opposition to put an end to their party’s 40 years in government.