PS, Tories love you! Is Alison Redford leading predators away from her party? Or what?

Posted on April 27, 2014, 2:23 am
6 mins

The now-famous cell-phone camera shot of Ms. Redford dining with her daughter at Lulu California Bistro in Palm Springs, grabbed from the Internet.


Truth be told, former premier Alison Redford is not the first Alberta cabinet member to just say to hell with it and take a few days off in a sunny spot after a major political setback.

It’s a mild irony that the last one I’m aware of who did the same thing had just been kicked out of cabinet by Ms. Redford.

Now, the former cabinet minister in question was presumably fortunate in landing in a holiday spot that was apparently not as packed with well-heeled Albertans wielding high-end camera phones as Palm Springs. Surely Ms. Redford should have been aware Palm Springs is practically a suburb of Calgary! And nowadays, everyone with a cell phone is a paparazzo.

Still, it may nevertheless be worth all of us asking ourselves if Ms. Redford is being treated differently because of her prominence, her gender or her actions – or if she’s merely having a spectacular run of bad luck. Or, perhaps, it’s a bit of a combination of all of those things.

The former premier does seem to have a way of doing things that gets up ordinary voters’ noses, and the word that people keep using is “entitlement.” It’s not so much that she’s gone to Palm Springs, it’s that she turned up there after being missing in action from the Legislature since March 23, when she resigned as premier after a rebellion inside her own Progressive Conservative caucus.

It’s well known that she’s recently  notified the Speaker’s Office she has a legitimate reason to be away, so please don’t dock her pay as the rules allow. And just because she’s in Palm Springs, I suppose, it’s not impossible she really does have a proper reason – although it sure sounds to a lot of folks who have to show up at work or not get paid like that entitlement thing again.

Indeed, the former cabinet member cited above was gone for a couple of days, and then got back to work as if nothing had happened.

When the Opposition asked questions about why Ms. Redford is missing in action – which is after all the kind of question we pay Opposition members to ask – Speaker Gene Zwozdesky blew them off by saying it’s not his job to keep track of the attendance of MLAs. This is true, in fact, but probably wasn’t the best way to put it under the circumstances.

Actually, if voters think the Alberta Legislature or the House of Commons should keep and publish attendance records, they should tell their elected representatives. The Canadian Senate does, as a matter of fact, so there’s a precedent. All it would take is a vote.

Regardless of the qualified sympathy many of us feel for Ms. Redford – it’s got to be a blow to be taken down as she just has been – it’s a little unseemly when this just keeps going on and on, week after week.

For her own sake, one would think, she either needs to be seen to be getting back to work, or to make her departure from the Legislature official.

That said, has it occurred to anyone that Ms. Redford is doing her duty – to her party, anyway, if not to the voters of Calgary-Elbow?

After all, if the PCs are to pull off one more election victory – or even just to survive the next general election as a functioning entity – they need Ms. Redford to take the heat for all the party’s problems over the past couple of years.

And what better way for that to happen than for the former premier to stay in the news behaving, you know, in a seemingly entitled fashion in a place like Lulu California Bistro?

Or maybe she’s exacting her revenge on her caucus. Who knows? Not ordinary Albertans, that’s for sure.

What matters is voters recognize that whatever has gone wrong after 43 years of Progressive Conservative rule in Alberta, it was manifestly not all Ms. Redford’s fault!

The author is in British Columbia on family business, for which he booked time off work. He has not been spotted in any spots as nice as Lulu California Bistro, more’s the pity, which sounds as if it would have been nice. This post also appears on

7 Comments to: PS, Tories love you! Is Alison Redford leading predators away from her party? Or what?

  1. Sean

    April 27th, 2014

    As long as she remains a PC MLA, and Hancock and Zwoz fail to condemn her actions, the PC party will wear her scandals. As they should.

    The only way to salvage this would be to boot her from caucus.

    But then, won’t they need her seat for Prentice?

  2. April 27th, 2014

    It’s not unlikely that Ms. Redford is off work due to medical reasons. If that is the case, it’s frankly nobody’s business. And, particularly if it is for stress or other mental health reasons, the neanderthal cowboys in the province would be quick to pounce on the “women can’t hack it” theme, which frankly would be a huge setback. At this point it feels a bit like piling on.

    • jerrymacgp

      April 28th, 2014

      Maybe she is… but if I were to take sick time off work (sadly, I work for AHS) due to stress, depression, or some other mental health issue, woe betide me were I caught vacationing in the sun and surf somewhere. No, I’d be expected to be attending therapy session appointments, getting some light exercise, taking medication, perhaps seeing a psychiatrist, and so on, in an attempt to recover and return to work. Abuse or misuse of sick leave benefits can lead to dismissal, for cause.

      • April 28th, 2014

        My wife is a psychiatrist, and time off and some amount of getting away, often but not always in conjunction with some of the things you mention, is not at all unheard of, and when medically advised usually supported by employers, insurance companies etc. that worry about such things.

        Even Alberta’s generally pathetic Human Rights legislation also doesn’t require disclosure or approval by employers regarding employee illness or treatment plans. Doesn’t mean they don’t usually try of course. 🙂

  3. ronmac

    April 27th, 2014

    In a way you can’t blame Allison for not showing up at the ledge. After being in the penthouse suite for so long it’s quite a comedown to go back into cattle class.

    But let’s talk about Danielle Smith. Last night she was in High River where she was a attending a fundraising gig for the local food bank there (

    Danielle seems to much more in tune with the needs of ordinary Albertans, doesn’t she? In fact, you could say she’s trailblazing a new role for politicians, becoming the public face of state-sanctioned charity events.

    Let’s face it. As the social welfare state continues to be dismantled and replaced by free market policies (usually resulting in the 1% getting richer), we’ll all be depending on charity of one form another to get by.We’ll come to expect our future premiers and prime minsters to attend charity fundraising gigs 365 days a year for causes that directly affect us.

    With something like $5 billion dollars being taken out of the western Canadian farm economy (thanks to the dismantling of the Canadian wheat board) you have to wonder if food banks in agricultural communities like High River will be seeing an increased demand.

  4. John Cameron

    April 27th, 2014

    I grow weary of these daily assaults. I don’t think that I want to pay my taxes anymore. Anyone see any problems with that?


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