Alberta Premier Alison Redford announces her resignation at the Alberta Legislature, in Edmonton on March 19, 2014
Credits: David Bloom/Edmonton Sun/QMI Agency
EDMONTON -- Less than two years after her victory in the 2012 election, Alberta Premier Alison Redford announced she will resign her post effective Sunday evening.
Redford will remain in the legislature as the MLA for Calgary-Elbow. An interim premier is expected to be chosen during a Thursday morning caucus meeting.
An emotional Redford approached the podium inside the Alberta legislature on Wednesday night and stepped down with "profound optimism for Alberta's future" amidst public turbulence within the Progressive Conservative government.
After two Tory MLAs quit the party in recent weeks, Redford said the very public questions of caucus allegiances and her own leadership style have distracted from the important work of the government, such as the balanced budget.
"As leader of this government and this party, that has weighed heavily on my mind," said Redford, getting huge applause from MLAs on all sides of the political spectrum as she stated she poured her heart and soul into the job.
"Quite simply, I am not prepared to allow party and caucus infighting to get in the way of building a better future for our province and for all Albertans," she said.
"That is why I am announcing today, that with a profound optimism for Alberta's future, I am resigning as premier of Alberta effective this Sunday evening."
Amidst a roar of applause, Redford teared up as she thanked her constituents from Calgary-Elbow, her campaign volunteers and Albertans, while not being afraid to crack a small joke.
"On election night two years ago I pledged that we would govern with unity and build prosperity. Well, at least we got the prosperity part right."
Redford said she's looking forward spending more time with her husband, Glen Jermyn, and her daughter, Sarah, before bidding Albertans a goodnight.
Tory MLAs said Redford made the right call.
Justice Minister Jonathan Denis said Redford made a difficult decision as "being a premier or leader of any party is a pretty demanding job and as she said, her family is the bedrock for her."
Edmonton-Riverview MLA Steve Young - who was among a handful of Tory MLAs who were considering leaving caucus under Redford's leadership - said the party is now entering a transition period.
"All of caucus has to be part of the resetting of that culture. We'll retain the good things, we've done some good things. We've got to acknowledge that Alison for that."
Red Deer North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski said there was a distinct division in the party that had to be fixed for the government to move forward.
Donna Kennedy-Glans said she just feels sad.
"Somewhere in Albertans there's a sense of really strong hope that we can do this right, but for this moment I feel pretty sad."
Edmonton-South West MLA Matt Jeneroux said his heart goes out to Redford. "It was an incredibly difficult decision to make and she did."
George Rogers said there's still excellent people around the PC caucus who will roll up their sleeves.
"The frustration around the room was that there probably wasn't enough input in some areas, maybe it was too top down, but I'm not going to get into it. Water under the bridge at this point."
"With people leaving and so on, it was not a good scene here."
Alison Redford career timeline
• March, 2008 -- Alison Redford beat out Craig Cheffins, the Liberal MLA for Calgary-Elbow in a byelection. The lawyer and rookie MLA was named the justice and attorney general minister.
• Feb. 17, 2011 -- Redford leaves her post as justice minister to go for the leadership against other Torys including Gary Mar, Doug Griffths and Ted Morton.
• October, 2011 -- Alison Redford is chosen by the Alberta PC Party to replace outgoing leader Ed Stelmach.
• April 23, 2012 -- Alison Redford becomes the first female premier elect, as Tories seize a majority in the provincial election.
• Nov. 10, 2012 -- PC party changes leadership process to see the top two candidates sent to a second ballot rather than three.
• December 2012 -- Lynn Redford, the premier's sister and an executive at Alberta Health Services, testifies she never saw queue jumping during an inquiry.
• Dec. 3, 2012 -- Redford is cleared of contempt in the legislature after saying she didn't make the decision to award her ex-husband's law firm in a $10 billion lawsuit against the tobacco industry.
• Dec. 3, 2012 -- Stephen Carter, Redford's ex chief of staff tweets his severance was $130,000 after information was revealed her office paid out more than $2 million in severance.
• Dec. 4, 2013 --Wildrose calls for the Ethics Commissioner to be removed for a report clearing Alison Redford in awarding a tobacco litigation contract to a consortium that included her ex-husband's law firm.
• March 12, 2014 -- Redford pays back the $4,254.39 she had expensed in the cost of a trip to South Africa to attend Nelson Mandela's funeral on Dec. 15, 2013.
Scandals that plagued Premier Alison Redford's tenure
• October 2011: Redford's PC leadership campaign is accused of buying teachers' support by vowing a $107 million boost to education.
• March 2012: It's revealed MLAs were paid $1,000 a month to sit on a committee that hadn't met in 39 months.
• October 2012: Redford takes heat when it's clear her government paid $114,000 for unused hotel expenses related to the provincial government entourage at the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games that cost a total of more than $500,000.
• November 2102: It's revealed 145 children died while in provincial custody since 1999, though the government only revealed 56 of the fatalities.
• October 2013: It's learned Redford's chief of staff of six months, Stephen Carter, received a $130,000 golden handshake.
• February 2014: The so-called sunshine list tells a tale of big six-figure salaries and sumptuous pay hikes for those in Redford's office and other government operatives.
• February 2014: The premier is hit with a huge political broadside when it's revealed taxpayers paid $45,000 to send her and an aide to former South African president Nelson Mandela's memorial in December 2012. She paid back the money the following month. Other questionable travel expenses were also revealed.