A search for a member of Alison Redford’s cabinet or caucus who knew what was going on in the premier’s office might look something like this. Nothing like this is necessary in Alberta, though, because no one knew anything. It’s hardly necessary to say that real Alberta Tories may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below, left to right: Dave Hancock, Doug Horner, Thomas Lukaszuk back in the day when they were ministers in premier Alison Redford’s cabinet; Mark Twain.

“When in doubt tell the truth,” Mark Twain famously advised. “It will confound your enemies and astound your friends.”

No danger of anything like that ever happening out here in Alberta!

Now we have the scoop in detail on the former premier’s airborne and architectural shenanigans, thanks to Alberta Auditor General Merwan Saher’s full report, released yesterday. (The Reader’s Digest version was published a week earlier by the CBC, with the assistance of a well-placed leaker.)

Astonishingly, it turns out not one minister in Alison Redford’s cabinet, and not a single member of her caucus had the faintest suspicion, the remotest thought, not a single clue in a carload, about what was going on!

No! Seriously! It came as a complete surprise. That Alison Redford, she must have been a world class sneak!

Who knew?!

Not the minister of finance, the fellow responsible for the provincial air fleet, the one used as a personal taxi service by the premier’s office, which we now know consistently lied about the size of their travel costs. He had no idea! And, no, Doug Horner’s not resigning his portfolio because … uh, he had no idea. (Never mind that ministerial responsibility stuff. Like all the other rules in the rulebook, it doesn’t apply to Alberta Tories.)

Anyway, Mr. Horner must’ve figured that Dave Hancock, the premier pro tempore who replaced Ms. Redford, tried that contrition stuff back on the International Day of the Worker and it just didn’t hit the right note for an Alberta PC.

I mean, seriously, how can you say “I’m sorry we damaged Albertans’ confidence in our party,” when, like, you didn’t actually know anything about what was happening?

Speaking of Mr. Hancock, not the former minister of human services either. It was all news to Dave Hancock too. He never heard a whisper about it until he was relaxing one day at his villa in Italy and the phone started making that funny buzzy chirp.

And not the deputypremier, either, now running for the real non-deputy premier’s job. Geeze, what a shocker it all must’ve been to Thomas Lukaszuk, long after he was busy being deputy dawg, and later even busier cutting the crap out of post-secondary education budgets.

Not the minister of infrastructure, who didn’t even know for the longest time about that Sky Palace apartment thing that was being built for Ms. Redford. Ric McIver’s also running for Ms. Redford’s job now … and it turns out the Sky Palace is also still being built. Although that doesn’t really come as news to any Edmontonian who’s been watching it take shape, day by day, atop the confusingly named Federal Building, which is a provincial building.

Not the Solicitor General, Sun Media’s beloved “top cop.” Jonathan Denis hadn’t heard a peep until Dave Hancock gave him a dingle from Umbria or wherever with the bad news that he needed to pick up the phone and call the Mounties.

Have I missed anyone? Oh, probably…

Not one of them heard a thing, all the way down, presumably, to Mike Allen, the honourable member, if you’ll pardon the expression, for the evocatively named riding of Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo. Mr. Allen, at least, has an excuse. He’d been busted for trying to hire a hooker in Minneapolis and kicked out of the hearing-impaired Tory caucus by … Alison Redford.

And in fairness, as far as we know, no one’s asked him. Maybe they should! He might have heard something when he was left wandering the hallways. Anyway, he’s back now, in time to take part in the rash of head scratching that’s broken out in Tory circles.

A lot of us thought it was pretty bad when premier Ed Stelmach said he had no idea the economy was going to take a header into the toilet in the third quarter of 2008. But boy, does Mr. Stelmach – who actually was honest, just like his nickname said – look good now!

This is just pathetic, whether they knew anything and kept their lips zipped or had beans in their ears. There’s really nothing more to say about it.

Except this: Call a public inquiry. Call it now! Just call it, already!

A real one, run by an impartial and independent judge, with the power to poke around where he or she pleases, unlike certain carefully directed health care inquiries.

The rot in the Alberta Progressive Conservative government is so deep, and the public cynicism it breeds about our democracy is so profound, that the Hancock Government owes it to the province and the country as an act of patriotism to clear the air about what the hell is going on in this place.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen.

Oh, and if that’s just not on, call a flippin’ election!

This post also appears on Rabble.ca.

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  1. For anyone to say they ‘never’ knew about what was going on is just blatant lies! There should be a criminal investigation here immediately. Someone booked those seats on the orders from above, and then ‘someone’ was told to delete the bookings – work your way back from there.

    Redford’s problem was her ego was left to run our out of control without being capped. Who does this women think she is? I remember watching a news clip when she went to Africa and a huge black SUV pulled up somewhere, Harper gets out the front passenger door and walks off – yet the camera stays focused on the SUV for like a minute with no movement whatsoever. It all looked very strange, then the driver gets out and walks around the vehicle and opens the door and out steps Her Majesty Redford! Are you serious? Talk about an ego the size of the Rockies?

    During that minute of the camera focusing on the stationary vehicle – in the end she must have just condescended to have had actually spoke to the driver and told him to get out and open the door, because if this was his job he’d have done it for Harper and opened it right away for her.

    Redford should pair up with Tony Bliar, they’d be both well suited – both greasy, both unaccountable for their actions, take the proverbial as much you like, take your fellow citizens and abuse their intelligence – and yet it would seem they’re untouchable too! They’d be a match made in heaven. Go on Ali, give him a call! He could show you a thing or two about ducking and diving.

  2. This whole brouhaha has taken on the resemblance of a bunch of uncaring onlookers standing around the aftermath of a particularly gruesome car crash while pointing out the really disgusting parts to each other.

    This line from the above story; “Astonishingly, it turns out not one minister in Alison Redford’s cabinet, and not a single member of her caucus had the faintest suspicion, the remotest thought, not a single clue in a carload, about what was going on!” sums it up perfectly.
    This is official Government of Alberta policy. It has been since the early days of the Klien era and is SOP today. But most importantly, it runs from the top right down to the rawest recruit. It is not a characteristic of just the ministerial suite but is the operating language of the whole public service.
    Have you ever heard the phrase “officially induced error”? You will, shortly after you begin to work in the public service of Alberta. It is used to excuse any oversight, any mistake, any poor decision (at least those that are caught out). This complete lack of accountability is why we have the industrial mess we do, why we have no money in the kitty after 3 generations of petroleum exploitation, no social or industry planning, a laughably rickety health care program, hiways being built with no overpasses … and on and on!
    David, I dare say there will be no inquiry. For sure because the PC party won’t allow it; they are the decision-makers after all, but also because a very large fraction of those in the GOA employ, from Deputy Ministers all the way down to front-line staff, do not want their day-to-day actions exposed. Then you really would hear the cries of surprise, ignorance and innocence!

    1. As someone from the “front line”, I take great exception to being lumped in with Executive Counsel AND the PC’s. The work I do is in service to Albertans. I do it gladly because I believe in individuals/communities supporting each other. I am proud of the work I do and would happily show my day to day actions which support the families of this amazing province-regardless of the negativity that comes with choosing public over private sector.

      1. and I too am happy to hear you make your comment Erin. I have no doubt that there are honest, hard-working and happy individuals in the public service. Of all of the notable characteristics of this cadre and there are many, being in the minority is just one of them.

  3. The challenge dear Dave, is how do you get a Minister who has lacked, lacks, and will most likely continue to lack, the required level of integrity, to stand up and admit that he is either:
    a. untruthful; and/or
    b. absolutely unquestionably intrinsically incompetent ?

    If, he can’t do that, standing in front of the mirror every single morning, I suspect he is not up to the task, with the very people who pay his salary.

  4. When Diogenes is finished his search through the Alberta PC’s ranks, he could try the Cons in Ottawa. I hope he’s got a lot of candles and a lot of patience.

    Speaking of which, Rob Anders is making a bid for the new Alberta riding of Bow River. (Apologies for subjecting anyone to the giant photo on the site but if you’re quick and scroll down really fast, the damage will be minimalized.)

    According to the article:

    Anders shares the values of the people who live in Bow River, said a campaign press release on Friday.

    “Rob Anders is a movement conservative known for his strong stands and conservative voting record. He has fought hard over the years for property rights, low taxes, gun rights and traditional family values,” the release said.

    The people of Bow River should be insulted, I hope.

    1. Filostrato: I have had a blog post on this very topic “sitting in the can” for four days – bumped day after day by the stream of outrageous revelations about Ms. Redford’s conduct in office, and her party’s reaction to them. Saturday’s a terrible day for blog posts – consistent low readership. So, I’m aiming for Sunday.

  5. I want all of the PC MLAs who are running in the next election to explain their lack of knowledge, particular the senior members of Redford’s cabinet.

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