EDMONTON, AB (February 4, 2016): Instead of assisting in bringing accountability for Alberta taxpayers for the abuse of government travel and infrastructure spending, members of the NDP caucus blocked questions involving “HR issues” at Public Accounts Committee Wednesday, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.The chair position, traditionally held by Wildrose Shadow Finance Minister Derek Fildebrandt, was given to an NDP member of the committee so Fildebrandt could ask questions on the Auditor General’s 2014 Special Report which highlighted abuses committed by former Premier Alison Redford around the usage of government planes and construction of “Skypalace”.
Wildrose Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes, who also sits on the committee, said he was disappointed by the lack of answers from public officials on how the abuses were allowed to take place.
“This committee is one of the only opportunities for legislators to stick up for taxpayers, and analyze government spending and the effectiveness of government programs,” Barnes said. “We received no answers on how serious abuses of this former program took place. If we can’t learn from breakdowns in the past, how are we going to prevent them in the future?”
All questions about accountability regarding members of the public service who participated in the work-arounds identified by the Auditor General were ruled out of order by the NDP substitute chair.
Fildebrandt said the NDP substitute chair should explain to Albertans why she stonewalled legitimate questions about the abuse of tax dollars in the past.
“It’s unthinkable that the NDP substitute chair would stonewall clear questions designed to get to the root of taxpayer abuse in government highlighted by the Auditor General,” Fildebrandt said. “Thanks to these efforts, this committee left Albertans with more questions than answers on some serious government issues. I am hopeful that the committee will resume its good work moving forward.”