Redford’s dissidents to be left untouched

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Alison Redford’s house leader says two rookie backbench MLAs openly challenging her will be left alone for now.

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Alison Redford’s house leader says two rookie backbench MLAs openly challenging her will be left alone for now.

“Those two members will make their decisions (on whether to quit Redford’s caucus) in a timely fashion, and I’ll respect those decisions,” Robin Campbell told reporters Tuesday.

Campbell said while he would prefer critical comments from dissidents like Steve Young and Matt Jeneroux be kept in-house in caucus, they all respect free speech.

“Everybody has opinions, and the great thing about our caucus is that there is a diverse group of people around the table,” he said.

“We all represent our ridings and our constituencies (and) we all have different ideas about how government should function.”

Campbell said conflicting views are common to all governments.

“There are always members that aren’t happy with the premier. There’s always members that have different views, and that’s just part of caucus.”

Should other MLAs now feel free to be openly critical of Redford?

“I wouldn’t,” said Campbell.

But can they?

“It’s a free country,” he replied.

Redford has been struggling in recent days to quell a caucus revolt stemming from her lavish travel spending and accusations she is an angry, abusive boss.

In the last week, Tory MLAs Len Webber and Donna Kennedy-Glans have quit caucus, citing Redford’s leadership as the main concern.

At least 10 more Progressive Conservative MLAs have met to discuss whether they, too, should cross the floor. That’s a figure that would put Redford’s majority in the legislature dangerously close to a minority.

The 10 include Edmonton MLAs Jeneroux and Young.

Young was appointed to cabinet by Redford in December, then turfed before he could even be sworn in over decade-old concerns of an internal investigation into his work as an Edmonton city police officer.

Last month, he criticized Redford for spending $45,000 to attend Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

He said he is still talking to constituents and advisers about whether to sit as an Independent.

When asked if leaving caucus is a real option, he said, “The Magna Carta tells us that leaving caucus is always an option.”

Jeneroux said he is going to take the upcoming two-week constituency break to touch base with his constituents to decide his best course of action.

“Any decision I make really has to reflect what’s best for Edmonton South West and my 50,000 constituents out there,” said Jeneroux.

“To me, that’s more important than my personal thoughts. My personal thoughts obviously weigh into it, but that’s how I’m feeling right now.”

The allegations against Redford have translated into low poll numbers, with PC MLAs criticizing not just her, but each other, on Twitter.

On the weekend, party officials met with Redford behind closed doors in Calgary to discuss the problems.

They emerged to say the party would deliver to Redford a new “work plan” to quell concerns about her leadership.

Neither party president Jim McCormick nor Redford have divulged details of the work plan.

In Calgary, McCormick told reporters it is still a work in progress, but said it would include a blueprint for better communication.

“From the party’s perspective we’re not looking at a capital-W, capital-P work plan. It’s a work plan that’s really a summary of a lot of different things that we’ll be discussing with the leader,” McCormick said Tuesday.

He said he would be meeting with Redford sometime this week to hash things out further.

Opposition critics have pounced on the plan, saying it shows Redford is now beholden not to Albertans but to the secret agenda of the PC party.

They have also gleefully labelled Redford Canada’s only premier in need of “adult supervision.”

Just Posted

WATCH: Property taxes in Red Deer will go up 2.02 per cent in 2018

City council passes a “tough” budget that maintains most service levels

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by government

Olds chicken barn burns to the ground, no livestock harmed

More than 100,000 chickens were saved as fire crews prevent the blaze from spreading

Bear video meant to promote conservation: zoo owner

Discovery Wildlife Park says it will look at other ways to promote its conservation message

Red Deer’s Soundhouse closing its doors on Record Store Day

The owners of The Soundhouse want to shut down their store on… Continue reading

NorAm Western Canadian Cross Country Ski Championships begin in Red Deer

The biggest cross-country skiing competition in Red Deer’s history is underway. Nearly… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month