Premier Alison Redford says she was surprised and disappointed to learn that it cost Alberta taxpayers roughly $45,000 for her and an assistant to attend Nelson Mandela’s funeral in South Africa late last year.
Redford used an Alberta government plane to fly to Ottawa to meet up with a Canadian delegation. She caught a ride from Ottawa to South Africa on the prime minister's plane, paid for on federal taxpayers' tab.
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But she spent $10,000 to fly back to Canada on a commercial flight rather than on Harper's flight, in order to attend the swearing-in of her new cabinet.
Speaking with reporters in Okotoks on Wednesday, Redford said she wouldn't have gone to the Mandela memorial if she had known the total cost.
“I was quite surprised when I saw how that number ... came to, was brought to. I’m not challenging the number. I’m surprised by the number. I don’t think it’s acceptable, I was disappointed,” she said.
Wildrose MLA Rob Anderson says Redford should pay for the costs out of her own pocket.
"If she is so disgusted with the price tag of this trip, she needs to pay back the money, either herself or through the PC party, but she needs to pay that money back to taxpayers."
But Redford said she was not making her own travel arrangements in those circumstances.
"I have to say that if, at that point in time, we had understood a couple of things — one is what some of those actual costs were going to turn out to be, and also how fluid the Prime Minister’s schedule was — I think I would have chosen not to go.”
Redford has been criticized for many of her trips abroad, but she says she will continue to travel to drum up business for the province.
Alberta opposition leaders noted that Nova Scotia's premier paid less than $1,000 to attend the funeral in December, which included Stephen McNeil's costs of flying to and from Ottawa to be part of the Canadian delegation.