Former Alberta premier Redford resigns from Calgary seat

Makes announcement in Calgary op-ed


CALGARY — Former Alberta premier Alison Redford is resigning her seat in the provincial legislature, effective immediately.

In an opinion article written for Postmedia newspapers, Redford, who has been sitting as a backbencher since the spring, acknowledges mistakes were made during her time as leader of the governing Progressive Conservatives.

“In hindsight, there were many things I would have done differently,” she wrote. “That said, I accept responsibility for all the decisions I have made.”

Jim McCormick, president of the PC party in Alberta, issued a statement that said Redford’s premiership “started off with such promise” but he added “it was her own personal choices that led to her demise.”

“She is alleged to have broken government rules, and taxpayer dollars were not treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. She has paid a personal and political price for her mistakes and we appreciate her decision to take responsibility for her actions,” he wrote.

“This circumstance won’t happen again.”

McCormick said the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta “is more than one person.”

Redford resigned as premier in March after facing increased unrest within her caucus, fuelled by concerns over her leadership style and a $45,000 trip to South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

Redford and her aide flew to Ottawa, where the premier joined the prime minister’s entourage. Her aide, however, took a commercial flight to South Africa. He and Redford returned to Alberta first class on another commercial flight so she could attend the swearing-in of her new cabinet.

She eventually paid back the money, but only after weeks of pressure and her repeated declarations that she would not.

Since she left office, she has faced increased criticism over her travel habits.

Last week, the CBC reported that a leaked review from Alberta auditor general Merwan Saher found that passenger lists on government aircraft were altered so that Redford could fly alone.

Redford issued a denial via Twitter. She said she had fully co-operated with Saher’s investigation and “would be surprised if these allegations are true.”

She also said “there was never any directive preventing others from flying on government aircraft when I was a passenger. In fact, on most occasions that I can recall, when I was on government flights, I travelled with other elected officials, public servants and staff.”

It’s expected that Saher’s full report will be released to members of the legislature and the public on Thursday.

“I will leave it to others to analyze and comment on the past. I am sure that I will be asked to weigh in, but I will respectfully decline,” Redford wrote in her opinion piece Wednesday. “It is time to move forward.”

Trained as a lawyer, Redford indicated she will teach and resume work in international development and public policy.

There had been calls from within her own party to give up her Calgary-Elbow seat.

Thomas Lukaszuk, one of the men vying to become the next leader of Alberta’s Conservatives, had called for an emergency caucus meeting to discuss Redford’s continued membership in the party.

He said it is now time to move forward.

“It’s a new chapter for Alberta. I wish everyone involved all the best on future journeys. Now is time to focus on tomorrow in Alberta,” Lukaszuk said on Twitter.

Redford said in the letter that she will not accept a transition allowance given to members of the legislature who leave their seats.

She concluded by thanking her friends and family.

“My family stood by me throughout and in the course of my political career there are some truly unique friends who have been volunteers and who have worked in my office,” she says.

“I thank each and every one of them for their friendship and loyalty in the face of some very difficult circumstances.”

There have been suggestions that there should be an RCMP investigation into Redford’s use of government aircraft. Opposition Wildrose finance critic, Rob Anderson, was the most definitive when he said the public has an expectation that politicians who may have broken the law should be investigated.

Flight records from last spring showed Redford also took her daughter, Sarah, on 50 flights on government aircraft, including for two weekends in Jasper. The records simply list “meetings with government officials.”

Shortly before her resignation as premier, Redford admitted to flying her daughter and her daughter’s friend around on a handful of flights and paid back the equivalent air fares. She also admitted taking a government plane to a family funeral in Vancouver and bringing a plane in to fly her back from a Palm Springs vacation.

Then, within days of her resignation, it was revealed her office had intervened with the Infrastructure Department to make changes to the top floor of the Federal Building.

The building, a block north of the legislature, is being renovated to house politicians, political staff and civil servants. In July 2012, Redford’s office ordered changes to the top floor to accommodate a “premier’s suite” complete with changing and grooming areas, a fireplace, separate temperature controls, a butler’s pantry and dining and study areas.

Documents revealed $173,000 was spent on design work for what became known as “sky palace,” before the plans were scrapped.

A Mount Royal University political scientist questioned the timing of Redford’s resignation as a member of the legislature Wednesday.

“Redford made the right decision, but at the wrong time,” Duane Bratt said in a Tweet. “She should have resigned as MLA at the same time as she resigned as premier.”

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Former Alberta premier Redford resigns from Calgary seat

  1. Alison Redford and Steve Harper have a lot in common when it come to their lavish spending habits, the only problem is, Harper hasn’t been caught yet, but hopefully another party will win in the 2015 election and finally bring to light the type of lavish lifestyle Harper has had in his last 8 eight years.


    > Given the allegations Ms Redford should not be allowed to represent any Government supported agency, that is, any Canadian funded one. As soon as I saw “international development…” then, given her tendency to abuse travel and related expenses, the risk becomes just too high that she would not only continue her travel habits but increase them.
    This should not be interpreted to mean that she is a less than good person; she just likes to travel. That is fine but not on our ticket.
    > If she wants to do this work for a private company or any other government then that is fine, too. She is not able to contain her desire to travel and this is said with no malice but simply as a statement of fact to which she has given credence by resigning.
    > PS: to the CBC monitor on this site. There is nothing in this posting that would justify flagging this comment. This site is supported by we Canadians and, except for vulgar and otherwise offensive language, we have the right to express our opinions on this site. Thank you.
    > PS: to the CBC management of this site. Over the past year it has been noticeable that many contentious issues no longer have the option of receiving comment from we Canadians. These important issues need the public narrative. Thanks you, again.
    Montreal, Quebec

    • Redford stayed long enough to collect her pension.

    • MACLEANS only allows you to post your opinion, but it doesn’t allow you to have a ‘ like’ or ‘ dislike ‘ tick off box though, and the reason for that was, because the posted comments by the public were becoming more popular than the authors story, and remember, you cant become bigger than the story.

      • > Now this is an interesting point. These news websites with provision for comment by the public are one of the first truly democratic means of free expression by we the people. As the various forms of communication technologies are developed and as the youngsters in our country come into their own as adults we are going to experience a tectonic shift in how public policy is created in our country.
        > Those little blue screens on our smartphones are a very powerful tool. Instant, clear, undeniable. The people at one of the major news websites were telling this writer today that they just cannot handle to influx. That is why we are seeing fewer and fewer articles with an opportunity to comment. This may stall the flow of public debate but it is only a matter of time before the public narrative becomes the true driving force of public policy.

        • If the authors of these articles don’t like your comment here because it don’t jive with them, they even block you from reading the article.

          • I meant they even block the comment your ready to post, by using some excuse your posting too fast or you posted the same comment before, that’s slang for I don’t like what you have to say..

  3. > In this article it mentions the “sky palace” for this princess that would cost a small fortune for the taxpayers of Alberta, ordinary working schmoes like me.
    > It also mentions the bill of $45,000 for the trip to Mandela’s funeral. The only people that should have been there to represent Canada at our expense ought to have been the Governor-General and his wife, the Prime Minister and his wife, and the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs and his wife if he is married. If they want to bring their children if would be permitted if the children are still considered dependents; no one else. Ms. Redford seized an opportunity and perhaps there were others, too.
    > Although not mentioned here it has since been reported that this very same Premier made a trip to India. Are you ready for this? The bill came it at $450,000! This is beyond belief. What possible benefit could have accrued to the taxpayers of Alberta for this expense?
    > It is a good thing that this whole matter has been turned over the RCMP. The people of Alberta deserved much, much better than they reserved from their former Premier.

    • CORRECTION: in the email of August 8, 2014 at 12:03 AM please note the correction: the phrase, “…than they reserved from…” should have read, “…than they received from…”
      Please excuse the error.