|Redford at a 2012 campaign rally|
|14th Premier of Alberta|
October 7, 2011 – March 23, 2014
|Lieutenant Governor||Donald Ethell|
|Preceded by||Ed Stelmach|
|Succeeded by||Dave Hancock|
|Leader of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta|
October 2, 2011
|Preceded by||Ed Stelmach|
|Succeeded by||Dave Hancock|
|Minister of Justice and
Attorney General of Alberta
March 13, 2008 – February 18, 2011
|Preceded by||Ron Stevens|
|Succeeded by||Verlyn Olson|
|Member of the Alberta Legislative Assembly
March 3, 2008
|Preceded by||Craig Cheffins|
|Born||Alison Merrilla Redford
March 7, 1965
Kitimat, British Columbia
|Political party||Progressive Conservative|
Robert Hawkes 1986-1991
|Children||Sarah (b. 2002)|
|Alma mater||University of Saskatchewan|
Alison Merrilla Redford, Q.C., MLA, (born March 7, 1965) is a Canadian lawyer and 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 Calgary as a teenager.
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 the history of Canada. Of the Alberta premiers with an elected mandate, her term in office was the shortest.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Political career
- 3 Premier
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Election results
- 6 References
- 7 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 Glasgow. Redford's family moved to Nova Scotia and Borneo, and to Calgary by the time Redford was 12. She graduated from Bishop Carroll High School, Calgary, and from the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan in 1988.
Throughout the 1990s, Redford worked as a technical adviser on constitutional and legal reform issues in various parts of Africa for the European Union, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Canadian Government and the Government of Australia. Her work in Africa focused on human rights litigation, developing education programs and policy reform with respect to gender issues.
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 Afghanistan's first parliamentary elections, held in September 2005. Political issues in the elections program within Alberta at that time were under question by the Elections Commissioner. She also served as an adviser to the Privy Council Office on Canada's future involvement in Afghanistan subsequent to the elections. Her work has included assignments in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Namibia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and the Philippines. Before her most current post, Redford managed a judicial training and legal reform project for the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme People's Court in Vietnam.
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.
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.
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.
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 get any foothold in the urban areas, winning only two seats in Calgary and being shut out in Edmonton. With this win, Redford became the fourth woman in Canadian history to lead a political party to victory in an election, after Catherine Callbeck in Prince Edward Island, Pat Duncan in Yukon, and Kathy Dunderdale in Newfoundland and Labrador.
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
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. To date Redford's government has not honoured the promise.
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, however, 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." 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 Peter Lougheed. The AUPE launched a legal challenge against Bill 46, and two months later Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Denny Thomas granted an indefinite injunction, saying that "the legislation could irreparably harm labour relations, guts the collective bargaining process and effectively emasculates the AUPE." Redford continued to defend the legislation and "reiterated the government’s intent to appeal the judge’s order." In the words of one observer, "the Redford government felt it was necessary to come down hard on them in order to snuff out any hope of wage increases that might add to the provincial budget deficit." Following Redford's resignation, the AUPE and the Hancock government reached a tentative agreement calling for an immediate $1800 lump sum for salaried employees (prorated for wage earners) and a pay increase of 6.75% to be spread over four years. The compensation deal proposed by the Redford government had been just 2% over four years and an $875 lump sum in 2014/15. The government dropped its appeal against the injunction after the deal with the AUPE was reached.
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 remaked 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).
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. This incurred 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 Africa for a swearing-in of the new Alberta Cabinet. Redford's travel further elicited disapproval from Albertans when it was revealed that Redford's then 12-year-old daughter and a friend had accompanied her several times on official government planes. In mid-March 2014, Redford repaid the costs of the Mandela funeral trip and apologized. It was reported in the press that the money was repaid only after weeks of refusals to do so, and Redford "only relented after tensions within her caucus spilled into the public realm."
The fallout over the Mandela funeral trip led to further scrutiny, with subsequent revelations of Redford's jet-setting 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 (many of whom came from Ontario or Ottawa, as she was a "Red Tory") 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 a permanent successor is chosen at a leadership election, which is the Progressive Conservative Party's third contest in eight years.
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. 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 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. 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 has been no official reply to repeated requests for information to both Redford and current Premier Hancock and subsequently, no evidence to substantiate a claim that the Jasper trips were for government business. A full audit of the former premier's travel and expense claims was ordered by the Auditor General on April 15, 2014. In May 2014 it was revealed that Redford demanded a personal protective security detail from the Calgary Police Service, at a forecast of $1.8M over budget. Her predecessor, Ed Stelmach, was protected by seven provincial sheriffs. Heavily redacted documents obtained by the media gave no evidence as to what rationale Redford had for the additional security detail, which provided security to Redford and her family in Calgary, Canmore and Banff. 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.
Attendance in the legislature
Following her resignation, 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 Springs, California during her absence. It was then noted that Redford served official notice to the speaker that her absence would continue, though "the reason for her excuse is confidential." In declaring her absence to the speaker, Redford ensured she would not be docked pay for non-attendance in the Legislature, whose rules state that a token deduction of $100 a day would be levied for each day missed, after the first 10 consecutive days absent. Redford returned to the legislature on May 5, 2014. In response to a media scrum, she noted that she spent the time off with family in Palm Springs but also worked in her constituency, as her intention was to complete her term as the MLA for Calgary-Elbow.
Standing in the party
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.
She was married to Robert Hawkes, son of former Calgary West MP Jim Hawkes, between 1985 and 1991. They met while working for former MLA (and later Alberta PC leadership contestant and Senator) Ron Ghitter. Redford remains friends with her ex-husband and in 2011 he led her transition team when she became premier.
|Alberta general election, 2012: Calgary-Elbow|
|Progressive Conservative||Alison Redford||11,198||58.09||+16.01|
|New Democratic||Craig Coolahan||761||3.95||+1.96|
|Alberta Party||Greg Clark||518||2.69||–|
|Total valid votes||19,278||100.00||–|
|Total rejected ballots||257||–||–|
|Alberta general election, 2008: Calgary-Elbow|
|Progressive Conservative||Alison Redford||6,130||42.08||+3.75|
|Wildrose Alliance||Dale Nelson||963||6.61||+2.44|
|New Democratic||Garnet Wilcox||290||1.99||−1.31|
|Total valid votes||14,568||100.00|
|Total rejected ballots||77|
|Progressive Conservative gain from Liberal||Swing||+5.16%|
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- Calgary Herald article
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|url=missing title (help).
- Martin, Sandra (March 31, 2012). "Alison Redford: A leader on the brink". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). Retrieved September 16, 2012.
- "PROFILE: Alison Redford, Alberta premier". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. September 28, 2011. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
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- Schwartz, Daniel. "PROFILE: Alison Redford, Alberta premier". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
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- Rennie, Steve (November 18, 2011). "Premier cool on past link with PM". Herald News. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
- "Justice minister Redford joins PC leadership race". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. February 16, 2011. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- "Seven stumbles and a funeral: Why Alberta's Premier Alison Redford had to quit". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). March 20, 2014.
- "Mar leads as Alberta PCs head to 2nd ballot". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. September 18, 2011. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- McLean, Tanara (October 1, 2011). "Redford wins leadership race". Edmonton Sun. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- Fong, Petti (October 2, 2011). "Alison Redford new leader of Alberta’s PC party". Toronto Star. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
- "Alison Redford sworn in as Alberta Premier". CBC News. October 7, 2011. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
- "UPDATED: Alberta election called for April 23". Global Edmonton. March 26, 2012. Retrieved April 25, 2012.
- "Wildrose poised for majority in Alberta: poll". Globe and Mail. April 4, 2012. Retrieved April 25, 2012.
- Grenier, Éric (April 16, 2012). "Wildrose on track for majority with a week to go in Alberta". Globe and Mail (Toronto). Retrieved April 25, 2012.
- "Albertans elect Tory majority government". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. April 23, 2012. Retrieved April 25, 2012.
- "Smith blames controversial remarks, strategic voting for Alberta loss". Globe and Mail. April 23, 2012. Retrieved April 25, 2012.
- "Albertans elect Tory majority government". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. April 23, 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
- Graveland, Bill. "Alberta Election 2012: Danielle Smith Defends Controversial Candidates Ron Leech And Allan Hunsperger".
- "Social issues sank Wildrose during campaign, experts say". 2012-04-24.
- "Alison Redford Promises Changes to Benefit the Nonprofit Sector". Retrieved September 26, 2012.
- "PC Leader Redford promises 50 new schools". CBC News. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
- CBC News http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/u-of-c-engineering-school-gets-142-5m-for-expansion-1.1931621
|url=missing title (help).
- Edmonton Journal article
- Southam, Greg (December 12, 2013). "AUPE Launches Legal Fight Against Bill 46". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved March 22, 2014.
- Calgary Herald article
- "Redford Sullies Her Human Rights Record"
- AUPE news release
- Government of Alberta press releases 27 Nov 2013 Averaged out, the Redford government offered 0.5% and $218.75 per year while the negotiations under Hancock arrived at the tentative figure of 1.69% and $450 per year.
- "Details emerge on 4-year AUPE deal"
- National Post article "Alison Redford and Christy Clark's Rocky Relationship"
- Financial Post article "Fresh Start After Redford and Clark Dig In Heels Over Pipeline"
- Globe and Mail article "Clark and Redford Reach Deal on Pipelines
- Financial Post article "Alberta's Energy Leadership Takes A Hit As Alison Redford's Political Foibles Continue
- CTV News Network, "Memorial of Nelson Mandela", airdate 10 December 2013 circa 4:30am EST
- Redford calls $45K Mandela memorial travel costs disappointing Alberta premier says she wouldn't have gone to South Africa had she known how expensive it would be http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/redford-calls-45k-mandela-memorial-travel-costs-disappointing-1.2524467 February 5, 2014
- CBC News http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/premier-to-repay-some-expenses-but-defiant-over-45k-airfare-1.2559248
|url=missing title (help).
- National Post story 20 March 2014
- The Star (Toronto) http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/03/19/alison_redford_resigns_as_alberta_premier.html
|url=missing title (help).
- Edmonton Journal story
- Gerson, Jen (March 19, 2014). "Alison Redford Resigns as Premier of Alberta". National Post. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
- Canadian Press article via Huffington Post
- "Redford Ordered Personal Penthouse Suite in Federal Building"
- "Additional Payouts to Alberta Premier's Staff Revealed"
- "Alison Redford Flew Daughter on Dozens of Government Flights"
- "Alison Redford's Travel Expenses To Be Audited"
- Alison Redford's Extra Security Demands Cost Over $465K Documents Show
- CBC news article "Redford Travel Cost Far More Than Premier's Office Disclosed"
- "Questions raised over Alison Redford's absence after Palm Springs sighting"
- "Redford to Remain Absent from Legislature"
- "It's 27C where Alison Redford surfaced...but it's Albertans who are hot under the collar" (Rick Bell, Calgary Sun, Sunday, April 27, 2014)
- "Redford to Remain Absent from Legislature"
- "Redford Asks to Collect Pay While Absent"
- "Former Premier Alison Redford Still a Legislature No Show"
- "Alison Redford returns to Alberta Legislature"
- "Alison Redford returns to Alberta Legislature"
- "Dave Hancock Apologizes to Albertans"
- "Alison Redford". Alison Redford.ca. Alison Redford. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alison Redford.|
|Order of precedence|
Ed Stelmach, former premier
|Order of precedence in Alberta
as of 2014[update]
Gene Zwozdesky, speaker of the Legislative Assembly