Albertans discovered this week that Premier Alison Redford cancelled a secretly planned trip to war-torn Afghanistan after suicide bomber blew herself up in a Kabul restaurant , killing twenty-one people, including two Canadians.
Ms. Redford was leading a trade mission through India last week and had secretly planned to stop in the Afghan capital before jetting off to a World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
The secrecy of the trip is understandable. Afghanistan is a dangerous place and Ms. Redford and her entourage could have become an appealing target for an attack.
But what business does an Alberta premier have travelling to a dangerous country like Afghanistan?
The official reasons for the trip reportedly released by Ms. Redford’s office were to pay a visit Canadian Forces stationed in Kabul and observe humanitarian projects that the Alberta government is supporting in the country.
It is hard not to see this side-trip as anything more than an expensive publicity stunt for a provincial politician who loves to be seen on international stage. If the trip hadn’t been cancelled, photos of the premier with the troops and with humanitarian workers would have been prominently featured all over the government website, Ms. Redford’s Facebook page and in future Progressive Conservative Party election ads.
It is unusual for a provincial leader to make this kind of appearance and it adds to the growing feeling that Ms. Redford is more comfortable playing prime minister than she is actually being the premier.
It is unclear how much the trip to Afghanistan would have cost Albertans. Considering the risks associated with such a trip, the security costs may not have been insignificant.
She may hold aspirations to soon return to the international stage (she used to work for the United Nations), but as a provincial premier, Ms. Redford has no business visiting Afghanistan.
4 replies on “Cancelled: Alison Redford’s expensive Afghanistan photo-op”
[…] blogger Dave Cournoyer observed in his Daveberta.ca blog last night: “It is hard not to see this side-trip as anything more than […]
I disagree for two main reasons. First, it’s important to start ‘normalising’ relations with Afghanistan as quickly as possible to integrate the legitimate Afghan economy into the world economy. Second, Canadians rely on the word of too many federal bureaucrats and politicians about what’s happening in places where Canadian forces & humanitarian efforts are resourced. As much as I dislike having Alberta/Albertans foot the bill, I trust Redford’s judgement a lot more than most of the Fed government’s front bench, for example.
Redford knows she’s a one termer so she’s trying to live as high on the hog as possible, given her short time at the top.
God only help us if Danielle Smith ever has the reigns of power… she’ll say anything across the spectrum for press.