Alberta Premier Alison Redford resigns

Alberta Premier Alison Redford announces her resignation at the Alberta Legislature, in Edmonton...

Alberta Premier Alison Redford announces her resignation at the Alberta Legislature, in Edmonton Alta., on Wednesday, March 19, 2014. David Bloom/QMI Agency

Matt Dykstra, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 6:54 AM ET

EDMONTON -- Less than two years after her victory in the 2012 election, Alberta Premier Alison Redford announced she will resign her post effective Sunday evening.

Redford will remain in the legislature as the MLA for Calgary-Elbow. An interim premier is expected to be chosen during a Thursday morning caucus meeting.

An emotional Redford approached the podium inside the Alberta legislature on Wednesday night and stepped down with "profound optimism for Alberta's future" amidst public turbulence within the Progressive Conservative government.

After two Tory MLAs quit the party in recent weeks, Redford said the very public questions of caucus allegiances and her own leadership style have distracted from the important work of the government, such as the balanced budget.

"As leader of this government and this party, that has weighed heavily on my mind," said Redford, getting huge applause from MLAs on all sides of the political spectrum as she stated she poured her heart and soul into the job.

"Quite simply, I am not prepared to allow party and caucus infighting to get in the way of building a better future for our province and for all Albertans," she said.

"That is why I am announcing today, that with a profound optimism for Alberta's future, I am resigning as premier of Alberta effective this Sunday evening."

 

Amidst a roar of applause, Redford teared up as she thanked her constituents from Calgary-Elbow, her campaign volunteers and Albertans, while not being afraid to crack a small joke.

"On election night two years ago I pledged that we would govern with unity and build prosperity. Well, at least we got the prosperity part right."

Redford said she's looking forward spending more time with her husband, Glen Jermyn, and her daughter, Sarah, before bidding Albertans a goodnight.

Tory MLAs said Redford made the right call.

Justice Minister Jonathan Denis said Redford made a difficult decision as "being a premier or leader of any party is a pretty demanding job and as she said, her family is the bedrock for her."

Edmonton-Riverview MLA Steve Young — who was among a handful of Tory MLAs who were considering leaving caucus under Redford's leadership — said the party is now entering a transition period.

"All of caucus has to be part of the resetting of that culture. We'll retain the good things, we've done some good things. We've got to acknowledge that Alison for that."

Red Deer North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski said there was a distinct division in the party that had to be fixed for the government to move forward.

Donna Kennedy-Glans said she just feels sad.

"Somewhere in Albertans there's a sense of really strong hope that we can do this right, but for this moment I feel pretty sad."

Edmonton-South West MLA Matt Jeneroux said his heart goes out to Redford. "It was an incredibly difficult decision to make and she did."

George Rogers said there's still excellent people around the PC caucus who will roll up their sleeves.

"The frustration around the room was that there probably wasn't enough input in some areas, maybe it was too top down, but I'm not going to get into it. Water under the bridge at this point."

"With people leaving and so on, it was not a good scene here."

matthew.dykstra@sunmedia.ca

@SunMattDykstra


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