When Dave Hancock took over as Premier from Alison Redford -- who resigned amidst growing scandal -- he promised he would work hard to regain the trust of Albertans.
Less than a month later he's abandoning that promise.
Further investigations of Redford's travel expenses have revealed no less than two trips to Jasper on government aircraft -- at government expense -- that suspiciously appear to resemble personal vacations. On one such occasion Redford stayed for a long weekend at the Jasper Place Lodge while southern Albertans were displaced by flood waters.
According to the flight manifests filed for each trip, the purpose was "meeting with government officials." Who are these government officials? Unspecified. Neither Redford nor Hancock are telling who. Hancock has declared that he doesn't know, and he refuses to attempt to find out.
That's a heck of a way to regain the trust of Albertans.
So, as Hancock is seemingly refusing to keep his promise to regain the trust of Albertans, the opposition is making ready to do it for him: by calling in the RCMP.
"If this premier knows something untoward has happened, he owes it to Albertans to tell them,” Wildrose Alliance leader Danielle Smith declared. “Not telling them is tantamount to covering it up. If this premier refuses to answer, we will have no choice but to ask the RCMP to investigate whether taxpayer dollars were used to pay for a Jasper resort vacation for the former premier.”
To be clear, what is at stake is whether or not Redford has committed an act of fraud. If she filed a manifest insisting she was to meet with government officials, met with none, and instead took a weekend off at taxpayer's expense, then she falsified documents for personal gain. That's the very definition of fraud, and it's a serious matter.
If this is not what Redford has done it is a very simple matter to show as much: simply tell Albertans which government officials she met with, and disclose what government business they discussed. If possible, provide documentation. Yet Redford is reportedly refusing -- outright refusing -- to do such a simple thing that would clear her name.
Now it's up to the RCMP. And if they can find no confirmation for the flight manifests Alison Redford filed it must be more than a matter of deciding whether or not she will face criminal charges: Dave Hancock himself should consider himself obligated to resign... if he isn't already.