Alberta politicians react to Redford resignation: ‘She paid a personal and political price for her mistakes’
Watch above: Has Calgary-Elbow MLA Alison Redford taken her political scandal with her after resigning from provincial politics? Gary Bobrovitz takes a look.
EDMONTON — Reaction is pouring in to former Alberta premier Alison Redford stepping down from provincial politics.
The Calgary-Elbow MLA announced her resignation Wednesday in an open letter.
Here’s an overview of what Alberta politicians had to say about the news:
Premier Dave Hancock said he believes Redford did the right thing by resigning.
“Tomorrow, the Auditor General will release his report on travel expenses and use of government aircraft, and we will respond to its findings at that time.
“Based on what I have read in the report, and after seeking legal advice, as soon as the report is publicly available tomorrow I will be directing the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General to refer this matter to the RCMP for their review and any investigations that they consider appropriate.
“While this is a difficult decision for me, I am extremely disappointed to learn of Ms. Redford’s actions while Premier. I had great respect for her and great hope for the promise she showed early in her tenure.
“As she said in her own statement, a lot of good was done for Albertans and Alberta and that is why this turn of events is so unfortunate.”
Candidates vying to become Alberta’s next premier didn’t waste time weighing in:
“The fact is, like in any relationship, there comes a time where you have to say ‘enough is enough,'” Thomas Lukaszuk said.
“She clearly wants to turn the page and start a new chapter of her life, and I would wish her and her family the best as she moves forward,” Jim Prentice said.
He added that he does not plan on running in Redford’s riding if elected leader.
“For me, I think Miss Redford made the right decision under the circumstances,” said Ric McIver.
“We’ll move forward, but we will not ignore the lessons of the past. Those that say ‘ignore the past’ are doomed to repeat those mistakes.”
Members of the opposition also chimed in:
They respectfully acknowledged Redford’s service, but then were quick to point out that the problem with the PCs does not end with the former premier.
“The PCs will undoubtedly attempt to convince Albertans that all of their problems were her fault and hers alone,” said Wildrose MLA Kerry Towle. “Miss Redford might make for a convenient scapegoat for the PCs, now desperately trying to cling to power. But the fact is, not a single one of them had the guts or integrity to stand up to her.
“Where was [Finance Minister] Doug Horner when the air fleet he was supposed to be watching over was repeatedly abused by the premier’s office?”
Liberal leader Raj Sherman went so far as to call for Horner’s resignation.
“There was clearly abuse of taxpayer resources. Since the Finace Minister’s staffers knew about this abuse, the question is, why didn’t he stop it? Did he not know, or did he turn a blind eye to it? Either way, he failed in his duty to stop this abuse and to protect the hard-earned tax dollars of Albertans.”
NDP MLA Deron Bilous echoed those sentiments.
WATCH: Raw video of opposition members
Jim McCormick, PC Alberta President, issued the following statement:
“It is with mixed feelings the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta learns of the resignation of Alison Redford as MLA for Calgary-Elbow.
“Her Premiership started off with such promise, and coming out of a strong victory in 2012, Albertans were excited and engaged at the potential for our province…Unfortunately, it was her own personal choices that led to her demise.
“She is alleged to have broken government rules, and taxpayer dollars were not treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. She has paid a personal and political price for her mistakes, and we appreciate her decision to take responsibility for her actions.
“This circumstance won’t happen again.”
Derek Fildebrandt with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation offered his two cents:
Fildebrandt believes Redford’s resignation saves the Alberta PC party from having to deal with “the “very uncomfortable decision with removing a former premier from their caucus.”
“But I don’t think this is going to take the heat off the government, I don’t think this is going to take the heat off of Alison Redford,” he said.
WATCH: More from Fildebrandt
“The Auditor General’s report [into Redford’s travel expenses] still comes down tomorrow and I’m hoping it’s going to name names.”
Robert Murray from the Frontier Centre for Public Policy gave his thoughts:
Murray thinks many are surprised Redford held on for this long.
“A lot of people have been saying I can’t believe that you would step down as premier and still want to retain your seat for as long as you did,” said Murray.
WATCH: More from Murray
“So, whether that was defiance, whether that was trying to stick up for constituents — I think after the Palm Springs incident, a lot of that credibility was eroded and now this report is the final nail in the coffin.”
Redford resigned as the premier of Alberta on March 23 amid caucus complaints about her lavish spending. She continued to sit in the legislature as the representative for Calgary-Elbow until her resignation.
Controversy has continued to plague her, however.
A CBC report last week said a leaked review from Alberta auditor general Merwan Saher found that passenger lists on government aircraft were altered so Redford could fly alone.
Global News confirmed the practice took place on government flights. Redford denied any personal wrong-doing.
Saher’s full report will be released to members of the legislature and the public on Thursday.
You can share your thoughts on Redford’s resignation in the comments section below.
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