From love to hate: Alison Redford’s controversial reign
Premier resigns leaving in her wake 29 months of PC leadership
Public flogging is not something that you would see on the streets of Canada. However, when it comes to the tumultuous relationship between media and politics, any leader or party can be dragged through the mud and put on display to take a verbal public lashing.
Alison Redford resigned as Premier of Alberta on March 19, stating that she would be officially out of office on March 23.
As Redford’s time in public office comes to a close, her controversial reign as leader of the Progressive Conservative party comes under scrutiny. She was brought to power on a platform of reducing poverty, boosting social spending and investing in education. However, once in power — she slashed spending, froze public sector wages of doctors and teachers, and, as Mount Royal University experienced, cut post-secondary budgets.
Beyond that, Redford made some questionable choices that may have even made Ralph Klein blush. She has taken a beating for lavish spending, abusing power and for allegedly just not being a nice person.
Now, as Redford steps down and points to in-house fighting as her reason for abdicating her position, the question remains: was Redford a victim of a broken party intent on marring her reputation, or was this a just ending to a political career smeared with scandal?
Wildrose leader — and official opposition to Redford’s party — Danielle Smith said in an interview with Huffington Post, that “Redford failed because she couldn’t change a party that, after four decades in power, sees the spoils of the public purse as its birthright.” She further stated in a press release that the party itself is broken and cannot be fixed.
“For the second time in three years, the premier of Alberta has resigned, and for the third time in eight years, the PC party will be looking for a new leader,” said Smith.
Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi was quoted by the Calgary Herald as saying that Redford’s leadership reaches beyond her political decisions, that it “is also a human story. It’s about a real person, a good person, a person who loves this province and has worked and made incredible sacrifice. And it’s the story of a system that takes someone like that and chews them up and spits them out.”
Marion Hudy, Albertan resident and PC voter, thinks that despite some poor choices Redford made, she had not done anything more shocking or scandalous than her male counterparts of previous years.
She feels that Redford, being a women in power, was scrutinized on her “bitchy” character more than her political decisions, saying “Ralph Klein, his spending and his plane trips were notorious and no one said ‘Ralph Klein, pay it back’. It was what he was known for and people accepted it.”
Deputy Premier Dave Hancock took the reigns as interim premier of the PC party. With fresh leadership at the helm, will this fractured party be able to heal its wounds, or are we at the beginning of the end of a long, albeit prosperous, PC government?
Alberta party leader Greg Clark believes that this is a turning point for Alberta politics, stating via press release that, “this is an important time in Alberta history. The decisions we make now will determine whether or not Alberta remains economically prosperous, socially strong and environmentally responsible for generations to come.”
We will see if times really do change with different leadership when election time comes.