All PC Party leadership candidates are taking aim at Ms. Redford, trying to place the blame for every mistake the government has made for the past two years solely on her.
One-hundred and thirty-six days after Alison Redford was forced to resign as Premier of Alberta, she has announced that she will resign as the MLA for Calgary-Elbow.
During happier times: Alison Redford and Thomas Lukaszuk
Through an opinion-editorial published in the Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald, the former premier defended her record as premier and refused to apologize for the misdeeds and scandals that occurred during her time as Premier of Alberta.
“I recognize that mistakes were made along the way. In hindsight, there were many things I would have done differently. That said, I accept responsibility for all the decisions I have made.”
Ms. Redford had been facing intense pressure to resign as MLA after months of controversy, including a leaked draft of a damning Auditor General report criticizing her expensive travel habits on the government dime.
The full report from Auditor General Merwan Saher is scheduled to be released on tomorrow. Ms. Redford resigned today.
This week, her former deputy premier called on Progressive Conservative MLAs to hold an emergency meeting to remove her from the governing caucus. PC leadership candidate Thomas Lukaszuk, the front man for Ms. Redford’s brutal funding cuts to Alberta’s colleges and universities, continues to take advantage of any opportunity to attack the former premier.
And he was not alone. All PC Party leadership candidates have taken aim at Ms. Redford, trying to place the blame for every mistake the government has made for the past two years solely on her.
Mr. Lukaszuk’s main opponent, bank executive Jim Prentice, has tried his best to avoid connecting himself in anyway to his party’s former leader. The front-runner refuses to even mention Ms. Redford by name when speaking to the media.
But while Mr. Prentice is aiming for a complete public divorce from his predecessor, he cannot escape the fact that the majority of his supporters in the PC caucus also supported Ms. Redford.
Ric McIver, the arch-conservative dark horse of the PC leadership race, did not ask Ms. Redford to resign, but was also critical of his former leader.
Ms. Redford’s resignation means that a by-election will need to be called in the Calgary-Elbow constituency within the next six months (by February 5, 2015). This will be the second by-election in Calgary-Elbow since 2007, when former Premier Ralph Klein retired from politics. The Liberals won that by-election.
Kennedy-Glans requests a return
In a strange move that will now be buried under the news of Ms. Redford’s most recent resignation, Independent MLA Donna Kennedy-Glans chose the middle of the summer to distribute a media release declaring that she wants to rejoin the PC caucus. Ms. Kennedy-Glans infamously left the PC caucus days before Ms. Redford’s resignation, saying that she was “increasingly convinced that elements of this 43-year old government are simply unable to make the changes needed to achieve that dream of a better Alberta.” It is unclear what has changed in the past five months to make her change her mind.
As Stephen Carter penned on his Calgary Herald blog, Ms. Kennedy-Glans, a) wants a spot in Mr. Prentice’s cabinet, and b) does not want to chance being challenged by a ‘star’ PC candidate in the next election. All the respect that Ms. Kennedy-Glans earned when she left the government on principle on appears to have been lost with this seemingly politically opportunistic move.