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Flight issues for ex-premier

Former Alberta premier Alison Redford is denying any personal wrongdoing associated with findings by the auditor general that passenger lists on government aircraft were altered so she could fly alone.

Redford issued the denial via Twitter on Tuesday, noting she has not been able to read the auditor general's draft report because it has not been provided to her.

"But I have cooperated fully with the auditor general in the preparation of his report and will continue to do so," she said.

"I understand from the media that the draft report supposedly refers to certain flight booking practices in the Office of the Premier. I would be surprised if these allegations are true but in any event, I also understand that the draft report makes clear that these were not practices that I had any knowledge of.

"It would not be true to suggest that I flew on the government plane alone. Despite the allegations raised today, as far as I am concerned there was never any directive preventing others from flying on government aircraft when I was a passenger. In fact, on most occasions that I can recall, when I was on government flights, I travelled with other elected officials, public servants and staff."

Alberta's Wildrose Opposition says there should be an RCMP investigation into Redford's use of government aircraft.

Wildrose finance critic Rob Anderson says the public has an expectation that politicians who may have broken the law should be investigated.

A CBC News report on Tuesday said a review by auditor general Merwan Saher found that Redford's staff blocked others from flying on government planes by booking seats in advance and then removing passenger names before printing the flight manifest.

"The implications of this practice were that other government employees or elected officials would not have been able to travel on those aircraft," Saher said in an internal government report obtained by the CBC.

Anderson said it appears the governing Progressive Conservatives were using the planes as "personal air limousines."

"The PCs will undoubtedly try and pin this all on Ms. Redford and her departed staff as though they had absolutely nothing to do with it," Anderson said.

"The fact is, there is simply no way that these actions could have been taken without other senior government staff and cabinet ministers knowing full well about it."

Redford resigned as premier on March 23 amid caucus complaints about her lavish spending. It was Redford who, before she resigned, asked the auditor general to review the government's flight program.

CBC News quoted the auditor's report as saying that "false passengers" were booked on some government flights so Redford could fly alone.

The network said the auditor's report also said Redford and her former chief of staff denied any knowledge of the altered passenger lists.

The Canadian Press

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