Alison Redford resigns as Alberta premier
Facing a palace coup over her imperious leadership style and lavish spending habits, Alberta Premier Alison Redford has stepped down.
“Too much time over the last few weeks has been spent on questions of loyalty and allegiances and character,” Redford said Wednesday evening at the Alberta legislature in Edmonton.
“Too many people have been distracted from the important work that Albertans sent us here to do and as leader of this party and this government that has weighed heavily on my mind,” she said, fighting back tears. ”
“I’ve given my heart and soul to this province . . . quite simply I am not prepared to allow party and caucus in-fighting to get in the way of building a better future for our province.”
Redford, who made history as her province’s first female premier, said “with a profound optimism for Alberta’s future I am resigning . . . effective this Sunday evening.”
Her dramatic abdication announcement in the legislature’s rotunda came less than two years after her Progressive Conservatives won a stunning landslide victory over Danielle Smith’s heavily favoured Wildrose party, defying pollsters and pundits.
But since that April 2012 win, Redford, who became leader only in October 2011, had been criticized for spending $45,000 on first-class air tickets and a government plane to jet to South Africa for the funeral of Nelson Mandela in December.
Redford, who had worked as a lawyer with Mandela’s government after the end of apartheid, finally repaid the controversial expenses last week.
But her liberal use of government aircraft on other jaunts suggested a sense of entitlement that rankled Alberta Conservatives. (Source: Toronto Star)