Surprise announcement | Deputy premier Dave Hancock takes over as interim leader
Six hours after giving a rousing speech to rural councillors, Alberta premier Alison Redford announced her resignation.
The announcement was a surprise to Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties president Bob Barss, but he said looking back at two days of meetings with the premier, she looked stressed.
“It was definitely a shock. Especially after meeting with her for the last two or three days, anybody could tell she had a lot on her mind,” said Barss.
“I was probably not surprised it happened, but the timing was a surprise. She gave a good speech at our convention.”
Redford gave no hint during the speech of the discontent within the party and her caucus that eventually wore her down and forced her to resign only two years after becoming premier.
“Quite simply, I am not prepared to allow party and caucus infighting to get in the way of building a better future for our province and for all Albertans,” she said March 19.
“And that is why I am announcing today, with a profound optimism for Alberta’s future, I am resigning as premier of Alberta, effective this Sunday evening.”
Deputy premier Dave Hancock will become premier until the Progressive Conservative party elects a new leader within four to six months.
“It’s been a strange day or two,” Hancock said during a news conference after the PC caucus elected him interim premier.
Hancock said he encouraged Redford to stay on as leader, but in the end it was her decision to make.
“She had to make the decision she thought was right for her and for Albertans,” said Hancock.
“I have worked very hard, as have members of the caucus, to encourage her to continue the good work she was doing, but ultimately it becomes an individual’s choice and determination they feel they can effectively go forward.”
Hancock, who is minister of ad-vanced education, said it’s up to the government to carry on as usual, including passing the budget tabled March 6.
“I care very deeply about our province and our future,” he said.
“I think Albertans want to know their government is in good hands, and we will continue to do the work of government.”
Barss doesn’t anticipate any problems dealing with government, provided the budget is passed and there is no cabinet shuffle.
“The budget is our concern,” he said.
“If they get it passed, then we know our funding is in place for the next year or until the new leader.”
He said everything went into a holding pattern when former premier Ed Stelmach announced his resignation but stayed on in the job. No one wanted to make any decisions.
Redford will continue to sit as a PC MLA for Calgary-Elbow. She was first elected in 2008 and became justice minister.