Friday, August 31, 2012

Dumbfounded! Allaudin Merali donates to both Fred Horne and Doug Horner campaigns.

Call me dumbfounded.

Not because of the possible 3 billion dollar deficit announcement today from Finance Minister Doug Horner, because anyone who was not a fanatical PC supporter knew it was coming, or even the news that Horner might have actually broken the law with his slim on the details financial update, or that Redford's team managed to lose money on the 16 billion dollar Heritage Trust Fund (PDF)  No, it is not any of those things that have me dumbfounded  it's the revelation that Allaudin Merali donated $500 to the campaigns of Health Minister Fred Horne and Finance Minister Doug Horner respectively.

I am dumbfounded because I just don't know how to write about it without it sounding like some work of fiction about a corrupt government in some third world country, even though it is all true and it is happening today in Redford's Alberta. So instead of writing a missive on the subject I will just list a few pertinent facts and ask a couple of questions.

According to Elections Alberta documents Allaudin Merali, known for the AHS expense account scandal where nearly $350,000 in expense claims were charged to Alberta taxpayers, including extravagant meals, alcohol, opera tickets, repairs to his Mercedes Benz and butler services, and the Ontario E-Health scandal where he was paid $57,000 for 21 days of work and charges expenses worth $76,000 a month, including $21,000 for 31 flights between Toronto and Edmonton, donated $500 to the campaigns of both Fred Horne and Doug Horner.

Fred Horne is Health Minister and responsible for AHS, who hired Merali to be their CFO in spite of the expense account issue that they claim they did not know about even though Sheila Weatherill, the one who personally signed off on those expenses, was sitting on the AHS superboard when the decision to hire him was made. Horne said at the time "With respect to hiring practices, I'm as much dumbfounded by this as anyone else,". It was also revealed that Merali had claimed a $220 lunch with Fred Horne before he was elected but Horne claims to have no recollection of that lunch, what it was about or who may have been there.  Fred Horne also claimed that he was unaware of the E-Health dealings.

Doug Horner is Finance Minister and would have been Merali's boss had he accepted the job controller, being approved by Redford's cabinet which of course includes both Horner and Fred Horne, instead of taking the CFO job with AHS. Horner also defended the governmentt hiring of Merali as controller and said that Redford's cabinet were fully aware of the E-Health issues.

So why did Fred Horne say he did not know about the E-Health issues when Doug Horner said that cabinet, including Horne, was aware?

Fred Horne could not remember his $220 lunch with Merali, but does he remember the $500 donation made to his campaign.

It appears that Horne had some dealings with Merali in the past, as their lunch clearly shows, but what about Horner? Was/is there some kind of relationship we are not yet aware of, and if not why would Merali choose to make a donation to Horner's campaign?

Friday, August 03, 2012

The Redford government and Merali: Incompetence in action.

Health Minister Fred Horne says that the Redford government did not know about Merali's Ontario e-health issues before hiring him to be in charge of all of Alberta's money as controller, Finance Minister Doug Horner says that they were aware, and Premier Redford seems unaware that her government even hired him! 

Not exactly confidence inspiring is it.  And just think, only 4 more years to go before the next election.

It should be noted that Alberta Health Services was aware of the Ontario e-health issues ( but it oddly enough not his previous AHS expense account shenanigans) when they hired him to be their CFO but did not care because they believed that this time it would be different.  That sounds a lot like many people who voted PC in the last election and as with AHS, also wrong.