Above: Dave Hancock addresses the media after being named interim premier
EDMONTON – Deputy Premier Dave Hancock has been chosen to serve as interim premier following Alison Redford’s resignation.
Redford announced she would resign effective Sunday evening at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Alberta’s Progressive Conservative caucus chose Hancock – the longest-serving minister in cabinet, currently serving his fifth term as the MLA for Edmonton-Whitemud – as interim leader and premier. Hancock’s official title until Redford officially resigns Sunday will be interim leader of caucus.
“It’s been a strange day or two,” said Hancock Thursday morning. “But I am humbled and privileged to have the confidence of caucus to provide leadership for government as we go forward until the party process to select a new leader has been concluded.”
Hancock says he will continue to govern on the agenda that has already been set forward, including the budget that was tabled earlier this month.
“Caucus, of course, and Cabinet make the decisions about what comes forward and when it comes forward. We are working on the agenda for the spring session, in terms of the things that we’ve approved. The focus primarily and now certainly, is on the budget.
“It is our job as MLAs to continue to govern on behalf of Albertans, to do the job Albertans have asked us to do,” he said. “We will go forward from here, we will provide good government to Albertans.
“We will provide stability, and we will work hard to continue to have the trust of Albertans as we move forward.”
Watch below: Tom Vernon speaks to Interim Leader Dave Hancock
He was appointed as Deputy Premier and Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education on Dec. 13, 2013. Prior to that, Hancock served as Minister of Human Services and Government House Leader and Minister of Education. He is a lawyer by profession.
Hancock, who supported Redford as she tried to weather the turmoil around her, had said he wouldn’t mind taking on the interim role for continuity’s sake. However, he said he didn’t want the job permanently. Hancock said he didn’t think he was the best long-term choice for a party that says it wants to turn over a new page.
Other PC caucus members offered their thoughts prior to Thursday morning’s meeting.
“What am I sad about? We have a person who busted her ass for two and a half years, right? Worked very hard for all of Albertans,” said Stephen Khan.
“Growing up on the farm, whenever you had tough times my grandpa always reminded me if you don’t know what the solution is right away then you just get back to work,” said Doug Griffiths. “Just keep on working, and we have a lot of work to do, so that’s what I focused on.”
“We have a fantastic budget, we have the best policies, and we’re just going to carry on down that road,” he added.
“I think it’ll be to the benefit of Albertans and the future of this province.”
“I’m just reassuring people that we have a phenomenal team and we have some great policies,” echoed Steve Young, “and we just have to continue moving forward.”
“I’ve made no decisions about my future in this point in time,” said Finance Minister Doug Horner. “Yesterday was kind of a shock to a lot of people and we’re going to take stock and make some decisions in the future about my future.”
“We were elected to govern, we’ve got to continue to do that,” he added.
“We’ve got a good budget on the table – I’m very proud of that – I’m very proud of the group that’s put that together.”
Another minister, Heather Klimchuk, said the government will continue moving ahead.
“Parties learn and evolve and we’re going to move forward and keep government and keep doing the good work Albertans expect of us.”
Redford announced she would step down after two-and-a-half years leading the province.
“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.”
“That is why I am announcing today that – with profound optimism for Alberta’s future – I am resigning as premier of Alberta effective this Sunday evening.”
More to come…
With files from The Canadian Press