By JOSH ALDRICH
Red Deer North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski says she is not happy that Premier Alison Redford had to resign, but she made the right decision.
After recent tumultuous times, Redford announced her resignation on Wednesday night, effective Sunday, after two-and-a-half years as premier.
Her run as Alberta’s leader was marred by controversy, including an ethics investigation that she was cleared of, over the awarding to her ex-husband’s law firm of a potentially lucrative tobacco litigation contract when she was still justice minister and, most recently, a $45,000 tab for flying to South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s funeral.
Deputy Premier Dave Hancock has been named as her interim successor. A meeting of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta board of directors will be held on Monday evening in Red Deer to discuss when to elect a new leader.
“There were a number of concerns that I think eroded away the trust and the confidence of the people,” said Jablonski on Friday. “Once that happens, for me, it’s very important to listen to what the people have to say, and if they’ve lost trust and confidence in the leadership, it’s a great concern to all MLAs and to our PC party.”
Jablonski said if she continues on into the next provincial election, it will be as whatever role the new leader decides for her, if she is re-elected.
“I have made no decision, but I think I make a better lieutenant than a general,” she said, when asked about the possibility of her seeking the leadership.
Hancock, who is the longest serving minister in cabinet, at 17 years, has said he does not plan to seek full-time leadership. Jablonski says he is the right man to shepherd the party and province through this time of transition.
Despite the way things ended for Redford, Tory MLA Cal Dallas, Red Deer South, says they still accomplished a lot of good in her short time as leader.
“Our premier was a champion for this province and I’m proud of what we were able to get done under her leadership,” said Dallas, minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations, in an email while in China. “We will move forward now as a government and a caucus to continue doing the job Albertans asked us to do.”
Wildrose MLA Kerry Towle, Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, says the issues that caused Redford to step down go beyond just the leader — it shines a brighter light on the problems within the party.
Danielle Smith, Wildrose leader and the leader of the Opposition, was already talking about being prepared for an early election on Thursday night in Calgary.
“This isn’t just the premier. The party has a view that it is so entitled that they no longer represent Albertans,” said Towle. “Changing the leader isn’t going to change the massive problems in the party.”
Smith will be hosting a meet and greet on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn & Suites in Gasoline Alley.