It would seem it just wasn’t enough.
Last week, minutes after the Express went to press, Alison Redford announced her resignation as leader of the Alberta PC Party and premier of Alberta. The announcement came after Redford had been besieged for weeks by critics of her lavish travel spending.
Prior to resigning, Redford had been lampooned for spending $45,000 to attend Nelson Mandela’s funeral and $3,000 to fly her daughter and her daughter’s friends around on government planes. Redford agreed to repay the funds, but not before repeatedly refusing to do so in the matter of the Mandela expenses and saying that government policies should change to better accommodate her as a mother in the matter of her daughter’s flight expenses.
It’s not really surprising, in light of all the drama that has surrounded Redford in the last few weeks, that she has resigned.
But, some of us may surprised that she resigned so soon.
Last week’s editorial spoke of how Redford finally made a decision that Albertans could get behind in paying back the $45,000. It looked like the premier might be getting on a track where she could begin regain the trust of the province.
However, Redford had waited too long to remedy her actions for a lack of trust and popularity among the electorate to be her only problems. In-fighting within her own party, no doubt largely due to Redford’s irresponsible spending, gave Redford more fires to put out while she still had others burning.
In the wake of her announcement, two members of the PC Party crossed the floor to sit as independents and at least 10 other members met to discuss whether they should continue supporting Redford’s leadership or leave the party themselves.
Whether it was due to pressure from her party, pressure from the people, or the belief a quick death was better than a long, drawn-out fight, Redford has at least saved some face in stepping down before anyone really made her. And certainly, it took a lot of guts to take that action, even if Redford never quite admitted to the mistakes that led her to that point.
Redford’s resignation came into effect this past Sunday. Until the PCs can convene to elect a new leader, Deputy Premier Dave Hancock will serve as Alberta’s interim premier.
While it is too bad that Redford acted too late to salvage enough of her reputation to continue leading this province, it is not necessarily a bad thing to see her go. It gives the Alberta PC Party, a party that many (especially the official opposition) believe has gotten complacent after 43 years in power, a chance to elect a leader who actually has some respect for the taxpayers.