Alberta Premier Alison Redford tops the Canadian Taxpayers Federation naughty list

By ,Edmonton Sun

First posted: | Updated:

More than a handful of governing Alberta MLAs deserve a big lump of coal under the tree this Christmas, including Premier Alison Redford, says the province’s tax watchdog.

When it comes to the expenses charged to taxpayers from Alberta’s well-compensated government ministers, Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) Alberta Director Derek Fildebrandt has been making a list and checking it twice.

“By keeping a close watch on the government, we know which of them has been naughty and which of them has been nice,” said Fildebrandt.

While the CTF previously had to file Freedom of Information (FOI) requests for the expenses, Fildebrandt says the Alberta government’s “nation-leading” expense disclosure policy allows even Santa to keep tabs on government expenses with relative ease.

Still, some MLAs couldn’t ho-ho-hold the line on spending.

Leading the naughty list is Premier Alison Redford, who in addition to numerous expensive flights and hotel stays, also ordered several $22 pots of coffee when she was in Washington in April.

“It could be whole pots of coffee but I don’t know how any coffee can be $22,” he said, adding Finance Minister Doug Horner shouldn’t get a Christmas gift either.

“Since the Premier and Horner are intent on leaving debt for our children to pay off, I think it’s only fair that Santa leaves them a lump of coal. As long as Alberta runs a deficit, it’ll be impossible for them to get off the Naughty list.”

Judging just by expenses, Fildebrandt says Redford is the naughtiest MLA while Justice Minister Jonathan Denis’ “boring” expenses make him the nicest.

Overall, Associate Minister Accountability, Transparency and Transformation Don Scott is also one of the nicest, said Fildebrandt, as he spearheaded Alberta’s new sunshine list that will see the salaries, benefits and severance agreements of all government employee’s making over $100,00 a year posted online.

Fildebrandt suggests MLAs make it their New Year’s resolution to ease up on their expense accounts.


Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) Alberta Director Derek Fildebrandt has compiled his naughty and nice list:


Premier Alison Redford

“Premier Redford flies around the world more than Santa Claus and gives out more free gifts paid for by debt than the big man in red could ever hope to, using mere elves,” says Filderbrandt.

Total expenses: $82,872

Notable airfare expense claims:

$7,875 to New Brunswick

$6,092 to Chicago

$5,927 to Toronto

Notable hotel expense claims:

$876/night in Washington (x2)

$772/night in New York (x3)

$635/night in Toronto (x2)

$649/night in Ottawa (x2)

Notable meal & hospitality claims:

$22 pots of coffee in Washington

$31 hamburger in Washington

Finance Minister Doug Horner

“Government debt is sort of like making the kids pay Santa for mom and dad’s presents. Since Doug is leaving behind debt for the little ones, Santa is likely to leave behind a lump of coal for him this year for the large debt and deficit; even the Auditor General can’t figure out how to make sense out of his books; and initially banning the CTF from the budget lockup,” says Filderbrandt.

Jobs, Skills and Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk

“Less naughty than last year, but Minister Lukaszuk sure does love flying to Calgary any chance that the can get. No driving for him. He even managed to find an excuse to be in Calgary on ‘government business’ for five days during Stampede. The last time Santa spent five days at Stampede, the elves fell behind on Cabbage Patch Kids and Mrs. Claus made him sleep on the couch for a week. Add to this his threat to raise beer taxes, and he really had no chance of making the Nice List this year,” says Filderbrandt.

Total Expenses: $45,325

Notable airfare expense claims:

$9,090 for European ‘junket’

17 Edmonton-Calgary flights

Notable hotel expense claims:

$1,388 for 4 nights stay during the Calgary Stampede

Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA Mike Allen: “You know”¦” says Fildebrandt. In case you don’t, Allen recently pled guilty to a misdemeanour charge relating to his July arrest in St. Paul, Minn. for soliciting a prostitute while on a taxpayer-funded government business trip.

Health Minister Fred Horne:

“Minister Horne is on the naughty list for the second year running for either misplacing or not posting some pretty big receipts as he’s required. Maybe they were ‘nice’ expenses, but that many missing receipts will land anyone on the ‘naughty list.’ That said, he did fire the entire AHS Board in an effort to stop undeserved bonus payouts. It helps his case, but not enough,” says Filderbrandt.

Total Expenses: $41,565

Notable missing receipts for airfare:

$5,762 to a symposium (destination not given)

$1,146 to a conference (destination not given)

$739 to a conference (destination not given)

Calgary Bow MLA Alana Delong:

“Ms. Delong has the distinction of being the only minister or MLA to have filed or posted absolutely no receipts at all. Until taxpayers get receipts, she only gets coal,” says Filderbrandt.

Total expenses: $4,772

Notable missing receipts for airfare, hotels, ground transportation and “other.”


Justice Minister Jonathan Denis:

“For the second year running, Jonathan Denis has the most boring expense claim of anyone in the government. Last year, Denis even went to a German beer hall, and didn’t even expense a beer,” says Filderbrandt.

Total expenses: $12,778

Associate Minister Accountability, Transparency and Transformation Don Scott: “Don easily made the Nice this year. Last year he introduced Alberta’s nation-leading expense disclosure system. Just last week, he unveiled Alberta’s new government salary ‘sunshine list.’ He deserves a good Christmas from Santa, and a promotion from Redford,” says Filderbrandt.

Transportation Minister Wayne Drysdale:

“Wayne earns a high spot on the Nice List this year for his good example. While other minister ran up bills of more than $600 a night for hotels during the Calgary Stampede, he stayed in town for just $177 a night. Those on the Naughty List should take note,” says Filderbrandt.

Human Services Minister Manmeet Bhullar:

“A big man with a small expense account, Manmeet has made some positive moves on privatizing the delivery of services. On a personal note, the CTF’s Alberta Director supports his initiative to protect the right of condo owners to fly the Canadian flag on their townhouses,” says Filderbrandt.

Total expenses: $5,673

Calgary-Hawkwood MLA Jason Luan: “Jason had the lowest expenses recorded of any MLA or Minister. You need to get out more Jason,” says Filderbrandt.

Total expenses: $381

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