Her era drawing to a close, Alison Redford is sent out of a Progressive Conservative Caucus meeting on March 13 while Tory MLAs argue over her fate. Below: Premier Dave Hancock; Tory leadership aspirant Thomas Lukaszuk.

Former premier Alison Redford signed off from public life in Alberta yesterday morning with the words, “I truly believe we made a difference.”

Well, if nothing else, Ms. Redford got that part right! In less than three years Hurricane Alison, the royal plural and all, shook the place to its foundations.

After the lingering Air Redford scandal, the astonishing Sky Palace affair, the war on public employees, the attack on post-secondary education, the plummeting polls, the palace coup by her panicked caucus, not to mention the incredible, serial ineptitude of her government, it’s quite possible this province will never be the same again.

Certainly the aftermath of the Redford Revolution continued yesterday, with a panicky sounding Premier pro tempore Dave Hancock vowing to call in the Mounties from his holiday villa in Italy, where you have to dial 1-1-2 to summon the Carabinieri.

An RCMP investigation will most certainly be a waste of the taxpayers’ money with a purely political goal in mind – distracting voters from the myriad sins of the PC Party – but what they hey! The Tories aren’t the first political party to do such a thing in such circumstances, and they won’t be the last. And, as noted in this space yesterday morning, this being Alberta there’s always the chance it’ll work.

Opposition parties will now express their deep gratitude that Ms. Redford has at last done what they’ve been demanding, but behind the closed doors of their caucus rooms they are weeping. For them, Ms. Redford was a gift that kept on giving.

Her resignation – just as her former deputy premier, Thomas Lukaszuk, was demanding that she be humiliated by public ejection from the Tory caucus – and especially her refusal to take the generous Legislative payout to which she is entitled, will significantly muffle the sound of the many of her shoes one suspects remain to drop in in the province’s political shoe closet. Alberta political observers assume that collection is as big as Imelda Marcos’s!

Certainly, though, the uproar will continue for a spell – with the Auditor General’s report on her use of the government’s air fleet, expected to be released to the public today, possibly with additional details to those revealed a week ago by the CBC.

The story by CBC’s Edmonton-based investigative reporting team seems to have been what spelled the final downfall of Ms. Redford, but the writing was already on the wall.

The former premier will return to working in the international field, suggested her official swansong, which was published as an op-ed article yesterday morning in both Alberta’s Postmedia-owned newspapers, the Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal.

Some shrewd observers have speculated the lavish lifestyle to which senior international officials are accustomed is where Ms. Redford’s seemingly spectacular sense of entitlement began. Don’t count on it. This problem was created right here in Alberta.

Still, work abroad might be just the ticket for Ms. Redford. No corporation or institution in Alberta is likely to want her name and picture in its annual report now.

The text of the document published yesterday deserves deconstruction. These things are clear:

  • Ms. Redford doesn’t really think she did anything wrong. Sure, she said, “I accept responsibility for all the decisions I have made,” but it seems pretty clear she’s concluded it wasn’t her decisions that caused all the problems. The passive voice tells all: “Mistakes were made along the way.” By someone.
  • She thinks we, foolishly, didn’t give her enough time. “I had hoped to have more time to do more of what I promised Albertans.” It would all have gotten done, were it not for us.
  • She doesn’t think she got it wrong, we did, small-timers that we are, mired in parochial concerns. “My hope for Alberta is that we will be bolder, more confident and prepared to seize our opportunities, remembering what we have to offer the world; that we will leave behind the day-to-day parochial political debate that is dominating the public discourse across this country.”
  • She’s not sorry, and she doesn’t think the things that offended so many Albertans were such big deals. Leastways, she has nary a word to say about them.

If her weird pastiche of progressive posturing and regressive policies – enough of everything to offend just about everyone in the province – was a flop, we can conclude from this she thinks it was because we were too dumb to trust her to bring us into the 21st Century.

It is a remarkably graceless document. Historians will have some fun with it.

But for all that, it is not unreasonable to ask how this intelligent and accomplished woman could have been the author of her own unraveling and downfall, in such an excruciating and public way.

This apparent willingness to ignore the possibility Ms. Redford was wrestling with her own personal demons is the most discreditable part of the Tory Establishment’s otherwise understandable effort to ensure she alone wears the party’s sense of entitlement and bland assumptions about the rightness of its rule.

This post also appears on Rabble.ca.

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  1. One of the sad thing about all this is that all the conservative fellow-travellers in Alberta who considered Alison Redford a Liberal-in-disguise will consider themselves to be vindicated. This, of course, is the way conservatives operate: when their leaders go wrong, they just claim that their leaders were never conservatives to begin with, thus removing any sense of responsibility and accountability for the ideology as a whole.

  2. Nice to Redford finally did us all a favour and backed her bags. For me personally, when I see the things she did and claimed for financially, it infuriates me after I wrote to her no end of times asking for her intervention regarding the shocking state my wife was left in following a routine appendectomy at the Rockyview Hospital – which hasn’t got the greatest track record when it comes to appendectomies. Redford didn’t even bother to reply – nor did Smith either – not once but several times I wrote to both – but nothing! Read my story here:


  3. She is certainly very passive aggressive. I got the same impressions you did about her op-ed. She doesn’t lack in the self-esteem department, that’s for sure.

  4. Surely, this province’s people whom she may believe is full of hicks and idiots, will look at the PC government that supported her. Yes, they, the PC MLAs who let her go unchecked, supported her; few people must have said “no” to her – many got on the Redford bus, or plane, to be part of the looting spree.

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