ALISON MERRILLA REDFORD, QC (born March 7, 1965) is a Canadian
lawyer and former politician. She was the 14th
Premier of Alberta ,
Canada, having served in this capacity from October 7, 2011, to March
23, 2014. Redford was born in
Kitimat, British Columbia and grew up
all over Canada and overseas before settling in
In the 2008 provincial election , Redford was elected as the Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for the district of Calgary-Elbow . She served in the cabinet of Ed Stelmach as the Minister of Justice and Attorney General . Redford became premier upon winning the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta , and on April 23, 2012, she led her party to victory in the 2012 provincial election . Redford is the first female premier in the province's history and the eighth woman to serve as a premier in the history of Canada. Of the Alberta premiers with an elected mandate , her term in office was the shortest.
On March 19, 2014, Redford announced that she would resign as premier of Alberta effective March 23, 2014. She was succeeded by deputy premier Dave Hancock on an interim basis. She announced her resignation as an MLA on August 6, 2014.
* 1 Early life
* 2 Political career
* 2.1 Federal politics * 2.2 Provincial politics
* 3 Premier
* 3.1 Party leadership * 3.2 2012 election
* 3.3 Post 2012 election Premiership
* 3.3.1 Fiscal policy
* 3.3.2 Education and labour
* 126.96.36.199 Bill 45 * 188.8.131.52 Bill 46
* 3.3.3 Energy
* 3.4 Fulfilment of mandate * 3.5 Controversy and resignation
* 4 Post-resignation MLA
* 4.1 Continuing financial controversy
* 4.1.1 Travel spending * 4.1.2 Travel scout * 4.1.3 Skypalace * 4.1.4 Personal staff * 4.1.5 Audit of travel expenses
* 4.2 Attendance in the legislature * 4.3 Standing in the party and resignation * 4.4 Tobacco lawsuit patronage
* 5 Personal life * 6 Election results * 7 Tribute * 8 References * 9 External links
Redford was born March 7, 1965, in
Kitimat, British Columbia , the
daughter of Helen Kay (née Anderson) and Merrill Redford. Her mother
was a Scottish immigrant, originally from
Throughout the 1990s, Redford worked as a technical adviser on
constitutional and legal reform issues in various parts of
One of Redford's most notable appointments was by the
Secretary-General of the United Nations as one of the four
International Election Commissioners to administer
In the 1980s Redford served as Senior Policy Advisor to former Prime Minister Joe Clark , who was the Secretary of State for External Affairs . She went on to work in the Office of the Prime Minister of Canada from 1988 to 1990, under Prime Minister Brian Mulroney . In this capacity, Redford organized a series of national foreign policy consultations facilitating public input on the Government of Canada's White Papers on Foreign Affairs and Defence. In the Canadian Parliament, she was also the Principal Legislative Advisor to the Secretary of State for External Affairs.
In 2004, Redford unsuccessfully challenged Member of Parliament Rob
Anders for the federal Conservative nomination in
On March 13, 2008, after being elected MLA for the constituency of Calgary-Elbow , Redford was named Minister of Justice and Attorney General by Premier Ed Stelmach . In addition, she also served as a member of the Agenda and Priorities Committee, the Treasury Board, and the Cabinet Policy Committee on Public Safety and Services. She resigned from the cabinet in early 2011 to devote herself to her campaign to succeed Stelmach as leader of the governing Progressive Conservative Party.
See also: Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta leadership election, 2011
On February 16, 2011, Redford announced she would be a candidate in the Progressive Conservative Association leadership race to succeed Stelmach, who had announced in January he would resign as leader and premier once his successor was chosen. Redford was largely considered an outsider and had the support of only one MLA in her leadership campaign.
In the first round of voting held on September 18, 2011, Redford placed second behind Gary Mar , the perceived frontrunner and the preferred candidate of caucus, with 19 per cent of the vote compared to 41 per cent for Mar. Redford managed to place second largely by signing up outsiders with several campaign promises, particularly reversing a $107-million education cut which gained the support of teachers while upsetting many in the party. With no candidate winning the necessary 50 per cent plus one on the first ballot a second and third round of voting was held on October 2, 2011. After the third round of voting Redford beat Mar, winning 51 per cent of the vote.
Redford was sworn in as Alberta's 14th Premier at the Alberta
Main article: Alberta general election, 2012
On March 26, 2012, Redford met with Lieutenant Governor Don Ethell , who dissolved the current legislature and called an election for April 23, 2012. After the election was called, support for the Wildrose Party supposedly surged past Redford's Progressive Conservatives. Throughout the campaign it was thought by some that the Wildrose, led by Danielle Smith , would win a majority government, ending the PC's 40-year reign.
However, on election night, the Progressive Conservatives shocked
pollsters and media pundits, by winning a twelfth majority government,
taking 61 of the 87 seats in the provincial legislature—a loss of
only five seats. The
Wildrose Party have accused her of more moderate
policies, thought to have attracted some Liberal and NDP supporters,
who some pundits believed voted strategically to stop the further
right-wing Wildrose, from forming a government. Wildrose lost
momentum in the final weeks of the campaign, due to Smith's defence of
two Wildrose candidates who had made controversial remarks. According
to the _National Post_, two of the Wildrose candidates' extreme views,
as well as Smith's refusal to condemn them, cost her a chance of
unseating Redford. Ultimately, Wildrose failed to get any foothold in
the urban areas, winning only two seats in
As part of the PC campaign platform, Redford expressed her intentions to work with nonprofits, calling for the creation of a new Department of Human Services as a "single point of entry" for non-profits. Redford promised to build, of which some have now opened, 50 new schools, and renovate 70 more over the next four years.
POST 2012 ELECTION PREMIERSHIP
One of Redford's first actions as Premier was to abolish extra pay for committee work by Members of the Legislative Assembly. The issue of committee pay had been contentious during the 2012 election, and news of a so-called "No-Meet Committee" in which MLAs were paid handsomely for little or no actual work had prompted wide public outrage. Another election issue had been "gold-plated pensions" and Redford rejected the advice of a panel of experts to reinstate handsome pensions for MLAs, as well as a suggestion she hike her own salary in excess of $300,000, instead vowing not to take a pension at all. In the wake of public spending scandals involving the Minister for Tourism and senior executives with Alberta Health Services , Redford also instituted new transparency measures and accountability in the form of public disclosure of expense spending. In 2013, after much public discussion following the dismissal of her chief of staff and the refusal to discuss his severance, Redford announced the creation of a "sunshine list " - a public disclosure of salaries and severances for public sector workers in the highest levels of Alberta's public sector.
Despite a number of these low-level fiscal policy initiatives, Redford's "big picture" actions have been viewed less favourably.
Alison Redford's real claim to fame in the history books of Alberta will be as the premier who returned Alberta to debt. Premier Alison Redford — and her Finance Minister Doug Horner — took Alberta from Ralph Klein's "Paid in Full," to $8.3 billion in debt as of today. Unless her successor radically changes course, Alberta will have a debt of $21 billion by fiscal 2016–17. And while she did it, she tore up Alberta's best financial transparency legislation, repealing the Fiscal Responsibility Act and the Government Accountability Act.
A year later, Redford's own analysis was revealed in a Globe and Mail interview:
After a long stretch of soul-searching, she was reluctant to identify specific mistakes she made, but did point to a range of other factors contributing to her difficulties, from her gender to back-stabbing in her own caucus.
Education And Labour
Promises made to postsecondary education during her campaign, however, were not kept, which angered several unions that had supported her leadership campaign. In spring 2013, under Redford's leadership the Progressive Conservatives tabled their first Alberta budget since reelection. The government failed to honour its 2012 provincial election promises to continue to increase post-secondary education at a rate of 2%. Instead the budget was cut by 7.2%. On October 9, 2013, following 900 academic staff and faculty job losses across the province, Thomas Lukazuk, the Minister responsible for Advanced Education, announced $142.5 million had come available to construct a new Engineering building at University of Calgary. This figure was a controversial amount, close to the $147 million needed to reverse cuts 8 months before. The decision was also at odds with the government's written assurances to university administrators on July 3, 2013 that they would advocate to reverse the budget cuts if additional dollars became available: "Look guys, you're not happy, I'm not happy with this budget. But this is the reality ... The moment I have any extra dollars I can access, I'll be the first on on my knees before the treasury board advocating for you to get your dollars. But in the meantime, get your financial houses in order," he said. Redford's government did not honour the promise while she held office.
Redford's relationship with the largest public sector union, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees was also rocky. In 2012, Redford appeared at the union's annual convention.
However, in 2013, her government tabled Bill 45 which increased fines for illegal strikes. Protests against Bill 45 came from the AUPE as well as the United Nurses of Alberta , Health Sciences Association of Alberta and Canadian Union of Provincial Employees-Alberta, representing 85,000 Albertans. Bill 45 imposes severe economic sanctions on provincial workers that strike. Those workers are already forbidden from striking as they are deemed "essential services." On March 20, 2015 it was reported that Bill 45 was being repealed. Premier Jim Prentice, Redford's successor, announced that "I don't agree with the content of the legislation and we will move forward and define essential service legislation that is as respectful of our employees as it is respectful of taxpayers." The AUPE felt that "'one of the most odious remnants of the Redford era' will be gone."
The government also passed Bill 46: Public Service Salary Restraint
Act which unilaterally stripped the union of its right to arbitration,
a right previously granted by Premier
Redford's relationship with British Columbia premier Christy Clark was described as "rocky." The main area of contention was a trans-provincial pipeline. Controversy and delays in approving the Keystone XL Pipeline focused attention on moving bitumen from Alberta to the west coast. Clark had initially demanded a share of royalties in exchange for granting access to build the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines , prompting a "frosty" response from Redford in October 2012. In November 2013, a framework for a deal was worked out between the two leaders, with Redford's position on royalties remaining unchanged. One analyst remarked that the "public scuffle with British Columbia’s Premier, Christy Clark, over the Northern Gateway pipeline, was a first indication of unproductive handling" of energy issues by Redford's government. There was also an instability of appointments in the energy portfolios (including the removal of Ken Hughes as energy minister and the resignation of Kennedy-Glans as associate minister for electricity and renewable resources).
FULFILMENT OF MANDATE
Many of the Redford government's decisions were quickly reversed by Premier Jim Prentice once he assumed office. When the 2014 fall legislative session was prorogued, two controversial bills died on the order paper (the Public Sector Pension Plans Amendment Act (Bill 9) and the Employment Pension (Private Sector) Plans Amendment Act (Bill 10)). The move satisfied the AUPE who had objected to these bills, in concert with Bills 45 and 46, as an attack on public sector workers by the Redford government. The promise was also made not to re-introduce Bills 9 and 10. The following day, it was announced that Prentice would visit Michener Centre, a long term care center controversially marked for closure by the Redford government. Opposition parties had called on successive governments to keep the centre open. Many of Prentice's first actions in office were seen as a direct repudiation of Redford's mandate and an attempt to rehabilitate the Progressive Conservative Party in the eyes of the public. On March 20, 2015 Prentice announced that Bill 45 would be repealed, stating "I don't agree with the content of the legislation."
CONTROVERSY AND RESIGNATION
In 2013, Redford attended the funeral of
Nelson Mandela ,
representing her province, and as part of her personal history with
Nelson Mandela , whom she worked with and for in the fight against
Apartheid . Her attendance created a controversy when it was revealed
the Alberta government covered the approximately $45,000 cost for her
trip, including roughly $10,000 for a privately chartered flight to
return to Alberta from South
The fallout over the Mandela funeral trip led to further scrutiny, with subsequent revelations of Redford's expenses to promote the province and questionable spending, while her government was making public service cuts. This led to charges that she was abusing her political power with a culture of entitlement. Critics also pointed out that Redford's staffers had high salaries, including her chief of staff who earned more than his counterparts who worked for the Canadian Prime Minister or U.S. President. Further public allegations were that Redford's executive assistant charged $9,000 in lodging while working in Edmonton, averaging $200 a night for what the press referred to as "luxury hotel" stays.
Despite winning the party leadership and general election thanks to a coalition of unions of progressives, she disappointed many of them by not fulfilling campaign promises, as her administration moved to the right after 2012. At the same time she angered fiscal conservatives as the province accumulated debt of $8.7-billion (the Canadian Taxpayers Federation projected that it would reach $17-billion by 2016), aided by changes to the accounting rules made in the 2013 budget.
As a result of these controversies, Redford's personal approval rating dropped to 18 per cent (the first sitting Alberta premier since Don Getty to have an approval rating below 20 per cent) and party support fell to 19 per cent, versus 46 per cent for opposition Wildrose. Backbencher Len Webber quit the Progressive Conservative caucus to sit as an Independent, saying that Redford was a "bully". Steve Robson, president of the PC association in the northeast Edmonton, described Redford as an "arrogant" leader who does not listen to her caucus and called on her to resign. During the weekend of March 15–16, 2014, Redford met the PC party executive in a closed-door meeting, where she would be given an unspecified "work plan" to follow. However Redford faced a caucus revolt, as 10 MLAs met on March 16 to debate whether to leave the PC party and sit as Independents. On March 17, associate minister for electricity Donna Kennedy-Glans left the PC caucus. Later that week, riding association presidents were preparing non-confidence motions in Redford's leadership.
On March 19, 2014, Redford announced she would resign as premier of Alberta, effective March 23, 2014. She was succeeded by deputy premier Dave Hancock as the interim party leader and premier until Jim Prentice was chosen as a successor at a leadership election , which was the Progressive Conservative Party's third contest in eight years. Redford announced her resignation as the MLA for Calgary-Elbow on August 6, one day before an Auditor General's report into her travel expenses was scheduled for release. On August 7, 2014 a report by the Auditor General of Alberta noted that as Premier she and her office had "used public resources inappropriately," "used public assets (aircraft) for personal and partisan purposes" and that Redford "was involved in a plan to convert public space in a public building into personal living space." The report concluded that these abuses arose due to an "aura of power around Premier Redford and her office and the perceptions that the influence of the office should not be questioned." The key findings included:
* The (Premier's) office did not comply with the expense policy because those who were responsible for approving expenses did not document their rationale for key decisions that impacted travel costs. These key decisions included the type and class of transportation used by and the standard of accommodation provided to Premier Redford and office staff. * The government does not require a premier to certify that costs incurred by a premier or on behalf of a premier are for government business and are a reasonable use of public resources. * There was no formal oversight structure to monitor the office's travel expenses and use of government aircraft. * Government aircraft policy was not followed. There was personal and partisan use of the aircraft by Premier Redford.
CONTINUING FINANCIAL CONTROVERSY
Following Redford's resignation, further allegations of fiscal mis-management came to light.
Overspending on a trip to India was revealed, to the tune of $11,000, when members of Redford's "inner circle" flew on a trade mission to India then stopped over in the United Kingdom before a conference in Switzerland. Further scrutiny by media and opposition parties has led to a re-examination of fifty government flights in which members of Redford's family and staff (including a personal assistant and nanny) were accommodated, as well as two trips to the mountain resort of Jasper, Alberta . There was no official reply to repeated requests for information from both Redford and interim Premier Dave Hancock and, subsequently, no evidence to substantiate a claim that the Jasper trips were for government business. Even more documents released by the Auditor General of Alberta on July 29, 2014 suggested that Redford's staff falsified aircraft bookings in order that Redford could fly alone with her staff rather than permitting other government officials or passengers access to government planes.
On June 25, 2014, the CBC reported that even more documents had come to light revealing "hundreds of thousands" of dollars in additional travel-related expenses, including $330,000 for government employee Michele Tetreault who acted as a trip scout, including work on excursions the opposition criticized as "politicking at public expense." These expenses were never publicly disclosed. The Auditor General's report elaborated on the role of the trip scout, which was a new position created shortly after the 2012 election. The following year Tetreault's salary was listed as $127,827 annually. Among her duties was advance travel to locations the Premier was expected to visit, and emails released in the wake of the Auditor General's report reveal that among her activities she was "forwarding photos of hotels and suites, sussing out suitable patios and restaurants and at least once advising on public toilets." The position was cancelled after Redford's resignation as Premier and Tetreault was reassigned within the government.
On March 28, 2014, it was reported that Redford had ordered a private penthouse for herself and her daughter in a government building close to the Legislature, to be constructed by the provincial government. The renovations became known as "Skypalace" in the press, and even though the contentious renovations were leaked to the media, they were apparently never cancelled. The total cost for the "Skypalace" is estimated $2.76 Million.
The cost incurred by the severance packages of her personal support
staff also drew criticism. According to the terms of the contracts
they were engaged under, her chief of staff, communications director
and other "senior staffers" became entitled to receive a total of over
1 million dollars in severance benefits. Additional payouts to staff
and executive council accounted for an additional 1.3 million dollars.
In May 2014 it was revealed that Redford demanded a personal
protective security detail from the
Audit Of Travel Expenses
A full audit of the former premier's travel and expense claims was
ordered by the Auditor General on April 15, 2014 at the request of the
then-Premier, Redford herself. On August 7, 2014, the Auditor General
tabled its report, concluding that as Premier
ATTENDANCE IN THE LEGISLATURE
Following her resignation as Premier, Redford did not return to her
seat in the Legislature despite the ongoing session, and missed at
least 11 sittings of the Legislature. According to Section 34 of the
Legislative Assembly Act MLAs are permitted to miss a session if
they are ill, injured, on official business, or for reasons of
bereavement. Redford's extended absence caused speculation in the
press and among her constituents, heightened when no official
statement was forthcoming from the interim Premier or her staff as to
her whereabouts or reasons for not attending. Speculation was
heightened further when Redford was spotted in the resort town of Palm
STANDING IN THE PARTY AND RESIGNATION
At the first party speech of her successor, interim Premier Hancock,
in May 2014, Redford's name was not mentioned specifically and Hancock
apologized for the actions of the government during her tenure.
Redford was not in attendance and at that time had not spoken publicly
since her resignation. Redford returned to the Legislature and the
back benches on May 5, 2014. Redford retired from politics on August
6, 2014. Redford's resignation was tendered in the form of a letter
TOBACCO LAWSUIT PATRONAGE
In November 2015, the CBC announced that their investigation into the
"independent" process with which Alberta chose a legal consortium for
a $10-billion lawsuit against the tobacco industry was "manipulated,
allowing former premier
She was married to Robert Hawkes, son of former
Redford lives in
In July 2015, Redford revealed that following her resignation, she no longer belongs to any political party.
* v * t * e
PARTY CANDIDATE VOTES % ∆%
Progressive Conservative Alison Redford 11,198 58.09 +16.01
Wildrose James Cole 5,509 28.58 +21.97
Liberal Beena Ashar 1,067 5.53 −33.67
New Democratic Craig Coolahan 761 3.95 +1.96
Evergreen William Hamilton 225 1.17 −2.44
Total valid votes 19,278 100.00 –
Total rejected ballots 257 – –
Turnout 19,535 58.44 +12.60
Eligible voters 33,430 – –
* v * t * e
PARTY CANDIDATE VOTES % ∆%
Progressive Conservative Alison Redford 6,130 42.08 +3.75
Liberal Craig Cheffins 5,711 39.20 −6.57
Wildrose Alliance Dale Nelson 963 6.61 +2.44
Independent Barry Erskine 948 6.51
Green Jonathon Sheffield 526 3.61 −1.99
New Democratic Garnet Wilcox 290 1.99 −1.31
Total valid votes 14,568 100.00
Total rejected ballots 77
Turnout 14,645 45.84
Eligible voters 31,947
Progressive Conservative GAIN from Liberal Swing +5.16%
In 2016, Redford's official portrait was unveiled; it has been added to the collection which is permanently displayed in the Alberta Legislature Building.
* ^ McCan, Sean (October 2, 2011). "Meet your new premier".
* ^ "Premier Redford to address AUPE Convention today Alberta
Union of Provincial Employees". Aupe.org. 2016-09-02. Retrieved
* ^ _