ALBERTA

Alberta Election 2015: The Twists And Turns Of The Past Two Years

04/07/2015 01:56 EDT | Updated 06/07/2015 05:59 EDT
EDMONTON - A look at some of the twists and turns in Alberta politics since the last provincial election:

April 23, 2012: Progressive Conservative Leader Alison Redford defies the pundits and wins the election with 61 of 87 seats. Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith acknowledges that "self-inflicted wounds" on climate change and gay rights sank her party in the dying days of the campaign.

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Oct 23, 2013: The Wildrose aims at its annual meeting to revise policies on sexual orientation, race, climate change, the human rights commission, conscience rights and citizen-initiated referendums to make the party more mainstream. Smith has tried to foster better relations with the gay community by participating in pride week events.

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Dec. 10, 2013: Redford and an aide attend memorial for former South African president Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg. She travels with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's delegation, but it's later revealed she spent $45,000 to get to Ottawa on a government plane and to get home early on a commercial flight for her new cabinet's swearing-in. Nova Scotia's premier made the trip for under $1,000.

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Feb. 28, 2014: Redford faces renewed accusations of extravagant travel over a government flight home from a Palm Springs vacation to attend former premier Ralph Klein's funeral. The cost of flying the government plane down empty and returning with Redford, her daughter and two bodyguards was $9,200.

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March 4, 2014: Redford reveals that in the last 1 1/2 years she has flown her daughter Sarah and the girl's friends on government aircraft. She says she recognizes the trips were offside and repays the equivalent airfare, about $3,100.

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March 11, 2014: Redford faces accusations she used a government plane for a party fundraiser in Grande Prairie.

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March 12, 2014: Redford tries to stem a brewing caucus revolt by agreeing to pay back the $45,000 spent to fly to South Africa.

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March 13, 2014: Calgary backbencher Len Webber says he's quitting caucus to sit as an Independent. He says Redford is disrespectful and has issues with uncontrolled anger. Redford's comment: "No reaction."

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March 17, 2014: An associate minister in Redford's cabinet resigns her post and leaves the Tory caucus. Donna Kennedy-Glans, the member for Calgary Varsity, cites the inability to create change from within the party and a culture of entitlement as reasons for her departure, but does not criticize Redford by name.

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March 19, 2014: Redford calls a news conference in the legislature rotunda to announce she is resigning as premier, but will stay on as a government backbencher.

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March 23, 2014: Deputy premier Dave Hancock is named interim premier.

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March 28, 2014: Documents released by the province reveal plans for a taxpayer-funded penthouse "premier's suite" on top of a government building being renovated near the legislature. The suite was to have bedrooms for Redford and her daughter, a shared bathroom, a powder room, a walk-in closet, a butler's pantry and dining, study and lounge areas. The plan for what became known as the "sky palace" were scrapped, but not before $173,000 was spent on design work.

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April 29, 2014: Alberta NDP Leader Brian Mason announces he is stepping down so a fresh face can use a window of opportunity to capture progressive voters.

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Aug. 6, 2014: Redford resigns as a member of the legislature for Calgary Elbow, effective immediately. She says she accepts responsibility for all the decisions she made.

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Aug. 7, 2014: Auditor general Merwan Saher releases a report into Redford's expenses and use of government aircraft. He says Redford and her office used public resources inappropriately, and consistently failed to demonstrate that travel expenses were necessary and a reasonable use of taxpayer money. He points to an "aura of power" around the premier and her office and the perception that the influence of the office should not be questioned. The report is sent to the RCMP for review, but police don't lay any charges.

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Sept. 6, 2014: Former federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice wins the PC leadership and immediately attempts to distance himself from Redford by putting the government's fleet of planes up for sale.

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Oct. 18, 2014: Rachel Notley is chosen as NDP leader. Her father, Grant Notley, led the party in the 1980s until he was killed in a place crash.

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Oct. 28, 2014: The PCs sweep four provincial byelections, including wins for Gordon Dirk and Stephen Mandel, who were appointed to Prentice's cabinet without holding seats. The Wildrose had hoped to win at least one.

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Nov. 15, 2014: With Danielle Smith out of the room at the Wildrose annual meeting, members vote to backtrack on a definitive statement on equal rights for all.

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Nov. 24, 2014: Two members of the Wildrose party, Kerry Towle and Ian Donovan, cross the floor to sit with the governing Progressive Conservatives. Smith blasts the two and suggests they made the move for personal gain.

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Dec. 17, 2014: Danielle Smith and eight other Wildrose members cross the floor to sit with the government. Smith says she wants Prentice to succeed and can no longer oppose him. Heather Forsyth is named interim leader and the Wildrose manages to hang on to its Opposition status despite having the same number of seats as the Liberals.

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Jan. 26, 2015: Raj Sherman, saying he wants to move on to new challenges in his life, quits as Alberta Liberal leader. David Swann is named interim leader after fellow Liberal Laurie Blakeman ties her possible leadership to a merger with other progressive parties.

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March 13, 2015: Blakeman says she has accepted a joint Liberal-Alberta Party-Green party nomination in her Edmonton constituency, although she will appear as a Liberal on the ballot. Swann calls it "an experiment."

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March 26, 2015: The Prentice government tables a tough budget that includes taxes and fees across the board as well as spending cuts. Corporate Alberta is not hit, since Prentice says that would harm the economic recovery. Prentice says it's a 10-year plan to get Alberta off the roller-coaster caused by a heavy reliance on oil prices.___

March 28, 2015: The Wildrose party announces that it has chosen lawyer and former federal Conservative MP Brian Jean to take over as leader. On the same day, Wildrose members cheer as Smith loses the Progressive Conservative nomination in Highwood to Okotoks councillor Carrie Fisher.

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April 7, 2015: Prentice calls the party faithful together in Edmonton to announce that he has visited the lieutenant-governor to ask for a provincial election on May 5.

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