Redford appears capable but carries burden of Tories’ past

Premier Alison Redford doesn’t believe it’s fair for Albertans today to pay the total cost of electrical power infrastructure.

Premier Alison Redford doesn’t believe it’s fair for Albertans today to pay the total cost of electrical power infrastructure.

That infrastructure — new power lines, some of which carry a load of controversy with them — will last for 40-plus years, Redford told the Advocate editorial board on Friday. And so it’s only fair that future users would share in the cost, she said.

Among other things, she also said her Progressive Conservative party wasn’t planning to reintroduce elected hospital boards, health-care professionals are telling her “Don’t change the system again, please!”; good decisions in the past have allowed Alberta to be what it is today; this election, on April 23, will define Alberta’s future like none other; and a Redford government will invest in infrastructure across Alberta.

Discussions are underway with U.S. representatives to help with an anticipated 100,000 worker shortfall in the years ahead.

And she loves Red Deer College. She really likes the mix of trades and arts at RDC.

Redford covered a wide range of topics while here. There’s no doubt she has a clear vision for the future.

A composed, articulate speaker, Redford comes across as positive, genuine and smart. She’s animated when she talks about her view of Alberta, and where it fits in and where it can go on a global basis. If we wanted someone capable of representing Alberta on the international stage, she seems up to it. A provincial election loss would hardly be career-ending for the 47-year-old.

A lawyer, Redford served as minister of Justice and Attorney General under Ed Stelmach. Her resume before that is extensive and includes being a technical adviser on constitutional and legal reform in Africa. She was also an International Election Commissioner — appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations — for Afghanistan’s first parliamentary elections in 2005.

She’s so different from Ralph Klein or Ed Stelmach. Some analysis of Redford suggests she is more akin to a Peter Lougheed.

Is she going to be weighed down by the past? That’s something we won’t have an answer to for a few more weeks. Her party may be in the toughest run of its 41-year rule.

Can she wrangle the old guard into shape? There’s a lot to not like about the Tories of the past, not the least of which may be the attitudes of entitlement and arrogance. In recent months, those failings have never been clearer to voters.

But in terms of leadership, regardless of which party you support, Albertans could not go wrong with Redford at the helm, provided she really does have free rein to make her mark.

First though, Redford’s Conservatives face a major challenge in the three weeks left in the campaign, especially from the further right Wildrose Party under the leadership of another crackerjack, 41-year-old Danielle Smith.

For Alberta, it’s exciting that for the first time in a long time, voters are engaged.

Mary-Ann Barr is the Advocate’s assistant city editor. She can be reached by email at, phone 403-314-4332 and on Twitter @maryannbarr1.