CALGARY — A Calgary member of the legislature who left the Tory caucus as a revolt roiled over former premier Alison Redford’s leadership has asked to rejoin the government.
Calgary-Varsity member Donna Kennedy-Glans cited the inability to create change from within the party and a culture of entitlement as reasons for leaving caucus and her associate minister post on March 17, two days before Redford’s resignation announcement.
She has been sitting as an Independent, but says she is asking to rejoin the Conservative caucus after talking with her constituents about the party’s changing leadership.
“I continue to have their trust and to receive a strong endorsement to rejoin the PC caucus as their MLA,” she said Tuesday in a statement.
Kennedy-Glans said she and her constituents are encouraged by the commitments to change that have been made by each of the three leadership candidates.
“What Albertans want from their politicians is not complex,” Kennedy-Glans said. “What they have told me they want is, quite simply, a government that leads while also listening, that opens the doors to our ingenuity and our capacity for innovation, and that uses all of our resources wisely, now and into the future.”
Kennedy-Glans’s resignation came as Redford faced increasing unrest within her caucus, fuelled by concerns over her leadership style and a $45,000 trip to South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s funeral.
Calgary backbencher Len Webber also quit the Tory caucus, calling Redford a bully and “not a nice lady.” Webber has since announced he will seek a federal Conservative nomination in Calgary.
The fallout from Redford’s travel habits has continued even thought she has resigned.
Last week, the CBC reported that a leaked review from auditor general Merwan Saher found that passenger lists on government aircraft were altered so Redford, who still sits as a backbench government member, could fly alone.
The review said Redford’s staff blocked others from flying on government planes by booking seats in advance and then removing passenger names before printing the flight manifest.
Redford has denied any personal wrong-doing and said it would be untrue to say she flew on the government airplane alone.
The revelations have led to one of the contestants in the Tory leadership race, Thomas Lukaszuk, calling for an emergency caucus meeting to discuss her continued membership in the party.
“In the end, she took taxpayers’ money and their trust, and squandered it. Months ago, she told her government colleagues that there were no more problems, and that everything had been dealt with,” Lukaszuk said on Facebook.
“The problems have not stopped. Continued focus on the MLA and her actions is compromising the work of government and the PC party. It must stop,” he said.