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Thursday, October 04, 2007

ron stevens' hawaiian vacation.

What a week in Alberta politics. First, the damning Alberta Royalty Review Report and Auditor General's Report slammed Ed Stelmach's Tory Government for failing to collect BILLIONS of dollars in resource revenues owed to Albertans over the past 15 years. Then only days later, Ed Stelmach was refusing to fire his Cabinet Ministers responsible for the Department of Energy royalty scandal.

Now, it appears that the Stelmach Tories are being hit with new emerging scandals to deal with.

CBC has discovered that Stelmach's Calgary Lieutenant, Deputy Premier and Calgary-Glenmore Tory MLA Ron Stevens, used his government credit card to make a three-day 'pit stop' in Hawaii on a 2003 winter trip to Australia for government business.

Credit card statements obtained under Alberta's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act show meals and drinks for Stevens, his wife and four others during their Honolulu stay were paid for with government cards.
Stevens defended the spending as saving Albertans money by taking a three-day tax-payer funded Hawaiian vacation.

Earlier this week Auditor General Fred Dunn revealed that former Tory Minister and leadership candidate Mark Norris and his assistant Sasha Angus used government credit cards to rack up nearly $50,000 in personal expenses with little record keeping (including for a bachelor party in Las Vegas). So, I think Albertans can be forgiven if it's a little hard to take Stevens' 'word for it.'


Anonymous said...

Well, Ron just lost my vote. I figured I'd vote PC this time instead of Alliance or Socred just so that the Liberals wouldn't win seat.

I'm way too angry now. As soon as I'm done typing I'm getting on the phone with his office.

Mark my vote Socred - Ron Stevens is a weasel.

Anonymous said...

Come on David. You are becoming the Jason Cherniak of the provincial Liberal scene. Stevens may have used his card in 2003, but tell me, did he ultimately pay the bill out of his own pocket? That is the important thing.

It is the rule that now personal expenses are not to be charged to government credit card, but this was not always the case (obviously provided the person paid the charges after). I work for a company where it is allowed, provided you pay it back when you see the statement.

Now, to remove even the appearance of impropriety - or easy mudslinging by persons such as yourselves and the wanks in the CBC - government officials must separate personal spending on a separate credit card. This makes for easier tracking, but is a pain in the butt when you are booking a dual-purpose flight.

Anonymous said...

And the differences between the Federal Liberals and Provincial Conservatives get slimmer and slimmer.

Anonymous said...

This is a very troubling trend that is not something that is original to Alberta or the PC party. It is the type of attitude that you will get with any political party that has been in power for too long.

We saw it with Federal Liberal David Collenette's 'entitled to his entitlements' speech. We saw it with the morally bankrupt BC NDP and now see it with the tired Sask NDP. It's not the Tories fault, but it's a signal to the voters in Alberta that it's time to toss out the guys and get some people with new ideas and new perspective in the legislature.

Kevin Taft has been bringing forward some good ideas and his party is the only party in a position to take advantage of the Tories missteps, but any party who wants to defeat this 36 year behemoth will need to work hard.

It can be done. It will be done.

Anonymous said...

"Stevens may have used his card in 2003, but tell me, did he ultimately pay the bill out of his own pocket? That is the important thing."

Bull. By that logic the sponsorship scandal ceased to matter when the money was paid back.

kenchapman said...

It is called situational ethics. Not good enough.

Glen said...

One would think that if he paid off the tab himself, he'd just say he did...

In the article, he just claims that the expense was warranted - nothing about paying it eventually.

Anonymous said...

Does anything think that the Alberta Liberals have picked up any ground on the Tories as a result of these issues? I serious doubt it, in fact I believe the Tories have actually increased their support since the summer. Who wants to bet?

Anonymous said...

I don't think that the Tories have gained any support back. In fact I think that this is an issue that will cause the PC's rural base to finally have second thoughts and not follow so blindly.

However the dissolusioned PC's will sure as heck not be voting Liberal.

Keep Dreaming.

Anonymous said...

We will see Calberta. Wait for it.

Anonymous said...

One day left, Calberta

Anonymous said...

F. Irwin from Medicine Hat says:
Been busy w/ Municipal Election - can't believe I missed this CBC report on Stevens (his wife and 4 friends) in their 4 day stopover in Hawaii - Obviously his "defense" of this abuse of the government credit card (especially when the question is still unanswered as to IF or WHEN he reimbursed the Government) is hogwash!
These abuses may be the tip of the iceberg, however, as there is a rumour I recently heard about our sitting MLA (and now Minister of the Crown) which I found puzzling. I was told he recent;y purchased a home in Calgary (Lower Mount Royal?) Found this disturbing because he is not an independently wealthy man and his previous "jobs" under Ralph and his current portfolio (Insurance Industry, Land Developmers, and now Industry and Energy Companies) would all have great incentive to influence my MLA. Hey, I hope it's just that he has been frugal these past dozen years, invested wisely - or inherited a pile of cash from a distant uncle - to have the few Million extra to buy this second residence (hopefully FOR RETIREMENT). I will be giving him a personal call after October 15th to ask him directly if this rumour is true. Any other splashy life-style purchases by other PC MLAs around the province? Let us know...there may be a pattern.