Redford's aide bills province for $9K tab at Hotel Macdonald
Records show Premier Redford's assistant is billing taxpayers for 41 nights at Hotel MacDonald
Government records show that Premier Alison Redford's executive assistant is billing Alberta taxpayers $200 a night to stay at one of Edmonton's most expensive hotels.
Travel receipts posted online indicate that Brad Stables has billed the province more than $9,000 to stay 41 nights at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald since he assumed the job last spring.
Redford has been under fire from critics – and even from a member of her own caucus – for lavish spending, including $45,000 to fly her and Stables to Nelson Mandela's funeral in December.
But Redford's spokeswoman, Neala Barton, says the hotel deal is value for money, given that Stables lives in Calgary and that the province has a cut-rate deal with the hotel.
Barton also says because the premier lives and spends much of her time in Calgary, having to pay for a second residence for an assistant in Edmonton would cost more in the long run.
When Redford stays for extended periods in Edmonton, she has an apartment.
Backbencher slams Redford for Mandela trip
The news comes one day after a backbencher within Redford’s government criticized the premier for her spending habits.
In an interview with the Calgary Herald, MLA Steve Young made no attempt to hide how he feels about the cost of Redford’s recent trip to South Africa to attend Nelson Mandela’s funeral.
"The $45,000 is, I think, inconsistent with Alberta values. It's certainly the topic of conversation among my colleagues. I don't know how I could say I'm happy about it.”
He says there are several ways Redford can respond to the criticism -- including paying back the cash.
Redford has already apologized for the expensive trip, saying she would not have gone if she’d known how much it would cost.
Young declined to speak with CBC News.
Political analyst Chaldeans Mensah told CBC’s Kim Trynacity that criticisms from party members like Young put the premier in a difficult position.
"This is huge. Political parties run on internal cohesion," he said.
"One [option] would be to kick him out, the other way would be to say 'Hey, this is part of my new approach to politics, I encourage and embrace this challenge."
Young was once picked to be a member of Redford's cabinet, but was abruptly dropped in December over allegations of an incident that happened when he was a police officer. Young said he was cleared in the matter and that Redford's government was aware of it.
The premier’s office has not yet commented on Young’s statements. A special caucus meeting to discuss the matter has been scheduled for Thursday.
With files from The Canadian Press