Redford held her emotions in check, but caught herself as she talked about the importance her husband Glen and 12-year-old daughter, Sarah. "They have been a rock through all of this and no words can thank them for what they mean to me." Standing to her side and around the rotunda were staffers, fellow Tory members of the legislature and cabinet ministers. As she announced she was quitting, someone in the gallery started chanting "Alison, Alison, Alison!" "It's a sad day to see her go," said Edmonton Tory member Dave Dorward. "I was a firm Premier Redford fan. I think she's a great premier and did a whole bunch for Alberta that only maybe years from now we'll be able to see the effect of that."
Thank you Alberta for giving me the opportunity of lifetime! #ableg— Alison Redford (@Premier_Redford) March 20, 2014
On Monday, Donna Kennedy-Glans, the associate minister for electricity, quit — saying the promised reforms by Redford were dying on the vine.Redford was mocked in social media and in newspaper cartoons as "Princess Alison" or "Alison Earhart" — the chief pilot of WasteJet, the lone occupant of Redforce One. Earlier Wednesday, it was reported that riding association presidents in Calgary would meet in the evening to call for her resignation. But critics have long said it was never just about the trips or the culture of entitlement they suggested.
Alison Redford, they said, fell because in the end nobody knew where she stood.Redford had been named PC party leader in the fall of 2011 and led the party to victory in an election in 2012 on a platform of progressivism. She promised to eradicate poverty, boost social spending and invest in education. A coalition of unions and progressives helped her party to victory over the more right-of-centre Wildrose. But once elected, Redford moved her own party to the right. She cut spending to below the levels of inflation plus population, and strong-armed teachers and doctors into taking wage freezes. She slashed post-secondary budgets. When the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees refused to accept a freeze, she passed a law forcing it on them. Despite the move, she angered fiscal conservatives, taking Alberta back into long-term debt expected to reach $21 billion by 2017 to pay for new schools and health clinics. She is the second Tory premier to quit after holding the job for less than five years. Her predecessor, Ed Stelmach, resigned after only four years as he faced a caucus revolt of his own over a budget. The party caucus will meet Thursday to decide on the process for naming an interim leader. Then the party's board of directors will meet Monday in Red Deer to decide how to pick the next premier. "The PC party constitution requires a leadership selection to be held when the position of leader becomes vacant," party president Jim McCormick said. "That process can take no less than four months and no more than six months from when the leader resigns." The Tories still hold 58 of the 87 seats in the legislature. By law, the next provincial election must be held by the spring of 2016. Wildrose leader Danielle Smith said 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. "This party is done and it cannot be fixed," said Smith. In Smith's estimation, as with other critics, the meteoric rise and tragic fall of Alberta's first female leader is not the stuff of legends or myth.
It was simply a train wreck.A gravy train wreck.
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