Redford returns as backbencher
EDMONTON — Former Alberta premier Alison Redford returned to the legislature Monday for the first time since she quit the top job more than a month ago.
However, in a scrum with reporters, she declined to discuss issues that arose after she left, including her plan while premier to have taxpayers build her and her daughter a lavish penthouse suite on top of a government building.
“I know you all reported on that story within a week of my stepping down,” said Redford. “I know I had representatives who provided you with information on our perspective.
“I don’t think that anything is gained by continuing to comment on that story, and I have nothing else to add.”
Other issues include Redford taking her daughter on multiple trips, including one to Jasper during the height of last year’s flooding in southern Alberta.
Redford deflected answers on those as well, saying she addressed her daughter’s travel when the issue of an unrelated trip to Vancouver arose before she stepped down.
“I’m certainly not stepping back from anything that I did, and I’m not adding anything else to that story,” she said.
Redford then asked reporters: “Do you have anything new or are we done?”
“What went wrong for you in your premiership?” she was asked.
“I don’t know if I’m going to spend much time reflecting on that at the moment,” she replied. “I certainly, as you know, am in the middle of a transition.”
“Are you staying on as MLA?” she was asked.
“I see no reason not to stay on as MLA.”
“Will you run again (in the 2016 election)?” another asked.
She declined comment.
Redford stepped down as premier on March 23, ahead of a reported caucus revolt over opulent spending on herself and her inner circle.
Two MLAs had already crossed the floor before she left. One of them, Len Webber, said Redford was temperamental and abusive.
Since her departure, she has popped up occasionally on her Twitter account, with pictures of her working with constituents of her riding of Calgary-Elbow.
Two weeks ago, pictures surfaced on social media of Redford dining out and cycling in Palm Springs, Calif.
She said Monday that the Palm Springs trip was a vacation for herself, husband, and daughter Sarah.
“It was good for us to do that. We needed to do that,” she said.
“(I’m) very happy to see that none of you are stalking me for six hours a day ... the way that the press were in Palm Springs, which — even if you want to know where I am — I think is a little is over the top,” she added.
How hard has this experience been for you? she was asked.
“I’m going to let all of you come to your own conclusions on that,” she replied.
“I was really proud to serve as the premier of this province. I am also moving on to a new phase of my life, continuing to do my work as an MLA, and will continue to focus on that.”
Some MLAs, including Jobs Minister Thomas Lukaszuk, had said unless Redford had some overriding reason — such as health issues — she should be in the legislature during the spring session.
On Monday, Lukaszuk said he was glad Redford is back.
“That’s good. That means she is well and she is ready to resume her responsibilities as an MLA,” he said.