Premier Alison Redford addressed the media in Red Deer on Wednesday afternoon, acknowledging for the first time the expense claim allegations against her sister, Lynn Redford.

“As I understand it from what I’ve been told, this is something that happened in 2005, which was three years before I was elected.”

Lynn Redford is accused of submitting expense claims after attending PC fundraisers while she was working as a government relations advisor for the now defunct Calgary Health Region.

“From my perspective, I think it would be wholly inappropriate for me, as the Premier, to comment on my sister’s activities,” the Premier told reporters.

“That doesn’t mean that I don’t have confidence in my sister, but it also means that I have a tremendous amount of confidence in the systems that should look into exactly these sorts of allegations, whether or not they involve my sister.”

Redford says her government has been working towards openness and transparency when it comes to expense reports and MLA pay, and has introduced whistle blower legislation.
 
Redford says the place to determine the truth behind the allegations is not at a press conference, or in question period.

“I cannot expect that Albertans would want me, as the Premier of the province, to stand here at a podium and start defending my sister, or for that matter, criticizing my sister. That’s why we have systems in place.”  

Addressing Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith’s letter to the commissioner of the planned queue-jumping inquiry, Redford said she believes it shows a complete lack of respect for an independent judicial inquiry.

Smith’s letter to Justice John Vertes pointed out Lynn Redford as a ‘person of interest’. Smith believes Lynn Redford could have knowledge about politicians allegedly receiving faster access to Alberta’s health care system because of her role within the Calgary Health Region.

Premier Redford says she was shocked that a political leader would send a letter to the chair of an independent inquiry, calling Smith’s actions inappropriate.    

“If we had done that, somebody would be standing on the steps of the legislature, saying that we had interfered with an independent judicial process.  

Redford says that she cares and awful lot about her sister, but did not elaborate on their relationship.

“Politics is different in this province right now than it’s been for some time,” she explained.