Watch Above: Dave Hancock sworn in as premier of Alberta Sunday evening
EDMONTON – Alison Redford’s time as premier has officially come to an end as Dave Hancock was sworn in as premier of Alberta Sunday evening.
“I am honoured by the confidence my colleagues have placed in me. And I am humbled by the sense of responsibility and the opportunity to serve,” said Premier Hancock.
The ceremony was held at Government House in Edmonton.
In his first address as premier, Hancock admitted mistakes have been made.
“We will make mistakes, but we will learn from those mistakes. They will help us to grow and to do better.”
Hancock went on to thank his staff, volunteers and civil servants who have helped him during his time in office. He also thanked his family.
“I am grateful every day for the love and support of my family. And the confidence they give me.”
Hancock also took time to speak about Redford’s time as premier, and thanked her for her service.
“She worked tirelessly to promote our province and to build its place in Canada and the world. I want to extend my thanks, those of my colleagues, and of all Albertans to premier Redford for her service and for her sacrifice.”
Leading up to Sunday, Hancock said he was very busy preparing to transition into the new position.
“There’s a lot of things that you don’t realize until you get into it in terms of transitioning into a new office — what needs to happen, what staff you need to have, and phone calls with everybody,” Hancock said Saturday.
It comes just four days after Alison Redford announced her resignation, following weeks of political upheaval.
One day after Redford’s announcement, Hancock was named as her replacement.
Hancock realizes his time as premier will be short, but says business will not slow down.
“That sort of sets, ‘What’s your agenda for the next 180 days? What are the things you need to get done? What are the things that we need to reconsider or look at to see whether we need to do them?’ keeping in mind that there will be a new leader coming in.”
Alberta’s Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour Thomas Lukaszuk believes Hancock is capable of “stabilizing the waters” and refocusing the government.
“You need someone who will have a steady but a strong grip on the rudder. He has the experience,” said Lukaszuk, “has the confidence of caucus, without a doubt has the confidence of the public. So he is the perfect fella for a transitional premier, while the party is focusing on choosing a permanent premier.”
Hancock will lead the province until the PC party elects a new leader, which is a four to six month process.
New PC party leader to be elected
While no one has officially thrown their hat into the race for PC party leader, Municipal Affairs Minister Ken Hughes has expressed interest.
“Over the next couple of weeks I will be listening to what Albertans think about my credentials for the job. This will be facilitated through a website we have set up and an ‘exploratory committee’ I am establishing,” Hughes wrote in an email to volunteers and supporters on Saturday.
As for whether or not Lukaszuk will run for the leader’s position, he says he’s spoken with his family and PC association, but has yet to make a decision.
“This is a very serious decision,” he said. “I will also be looking at the qualities. ‘Do I have the qualities that will be required for that?’ If I do, I will be very humble and I will accept that challenge. If I don’t, I will definitely put all my effort behind the candidate that does.”
Lukaszuk says the new leader will also have the responsibility of reaching out to party members who have become “disengaged” over the last couple of years.
“And to make a clear statement that, ‘This is your father’s Progressive Conservative party. But it also is your daughter’s and your son’s,'” he said, referencing an advertisement the PC’s ran in the 2012 campaign stating the party was, ‘Not your father’s PC Party.’
“This party needs to rely on the experience and the expertise of members of the past, but also be able to attract new membership.”
The process of electing a new leader has changed since Redford was elected leader of the PC party in 2011. According to a recent update to party rules, if no candidate earns a majority vote in the first ballot, only the first and second candidate will move on to the second ballot vote. Previously, three candidates would have moved on.
If those rules were in place in 2006, Ed Stelmach would have been eliminated after the first ballot. In the 2011 leadership race, Redford would have faced only Gary Mar in the second ballot.
Party officials will meet Monday in Red Deer to set out the details for the leadership race. Hancock says he will not be running.
Hancock is Alberta’s 15th premier.