Redford took $15K government jet to Ottawa despite commercial seats available

EDMONTON - There are new questions over whether Premier Alison Redford had no choice but to take a $15,000 ride on a government jet to get to Nelson Mandela's funeral.

Redford's office has said the government jet was the only way to get to Ottawa on Dec. 8 in time to catch Prime Minister Stephen Harper's flight to South Africa for the funeral.

However, the Opposition Wildrose party points out that both Air Canada and WestJet had flights to Ottawa at the same time and at a fraction of the cost.

WestJet declined to disclose seat numbers, but Air Canada says it had open seats that day.

Redford is under fire for spending $45,000 in taxpayers' money to take herself and an aide to South Africa even though flights there and back and accommodations were taken care of by the federal government.

Redford has said she was surprised and unhappy with the price tag and blamed her staff who booked it.