Politics
Alberta Premier Alison Redford won't step down despite opposition demands

Premier Alison Redford speaks with media

Credits: LYLE ASPINALL/QMI AGENCY

RENATO GANDIA | QMI AGENCY

CALGARY -- Premier Alison Redford indicated Friday she won't heed opposition calls she temporarily step down while conflict of interest allegations are addressed.

And the premier said the furor over allegations she handed a lucrative anti-tobacco litigation contract to her ex-husband's law firm have impacted the life of her daughter.

Redford said her daughter was told by a schoolmate that her mother was missing after a wanted-missing-for-questioning poster showing Redford's picture made the news.

Her daughter, said Redford, told the classmate that her mother wasn't missing and that she was in Edmonton.

"This is getting silly," she said.

The premier said such issues aren't what Albertans wanted their elected officials pre-occupied with "and there's lots of issues we need to talk about."

Redford declined to directly answer Friday whether she plans on stepping aside temporarily as suggested by NDP Leader Brian Mason.

She said she already answered the query, but reporters at an impromptu scrum before a Diamond Jubilee medal ceremony at Mount Royal University said no one has asked Redford if she was going to step down.

Calls for her to temporarily leave office came on the heels of a controversy involving a lawsuit contract awarded by the province to International Tobacco Recovery Lawyers, of which Robert Hawkes, Redford's ex-husband, is a partner.

Internal documents released by the Wildrose Party showed Redford, then justice minister, recommended the contract be awarded to the firm to seek $10 billion in compensation from tobacco firms.

Media reports also indicate Hawkes's firm made massive donations to the PC party after being awarded the litigation contract.

Redford repeated Friday it wasn't she who made the decision but Verlyn Olson, then justice minister, and continued to insist she wasn't in conflict of interest.

"I'm disappointed by the level of discourse," she told reporters.

"I've been very clear with respect to my involvement.

"I'm frankly disappointed that this is what we're spending our time in question period talking about."

Redford said she spent a couple of weeks meeting with the prime minister, the governor of the Bank of Canada and premiers across the nation to talk about business and issues that would benefit Albertans such as a proposed pipeline from east to west.

"I think these are the issues that Albertans want us to talk about in the legislature and in government," she said.
One of her aides confirmed later that Redford isn't stepping down.

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