kids encyclopedia robot

Alison Redford facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Alison Redford
Alison Redford 2012.jpg
Redford in 2012
14th Premier of Alberta
In office
October 7, 2011 – March 23, 2014
Monarch Elizabeth II
Lieutenant Governor Donald Ethell
  • Doug Horner
  • Thomas Lukaszuk
  • Dave Hancock
Preceded by Ed Stelmach
Succeeded by Dave Hancock
Leader of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta
In office
October 1, 2011 – March 23, 2014
Preceded by Ed Stelmach
Succeeded by Dave Hancock (interim)
Minister of Justice and
Attorney General of Alberta
In office
March 12, 2008 – February 18, 2011
Premier Ed Stelmach
Preceded by Ron Stevens
Succeeded by Verlyn Olson
Member of the
Legislative Assembly of Alberta
for Calgary-Elbow
In office
March 3, 2008 – August 6, 2014
Preceded by Craig Cheffins
Succeeded by Gordon Dirks
Personal details
Alison Merrilla Redford

(1965-03-07) March 7, 1965 (age 59)
Kitimat, British Columbia, Canada
Political party Progressive Conservative (2008–2014)
Robert Hawkes
(m. 1985; div. 1991)

Glen Jermyn
Children 1
Alma mater University of Saskatchewan
  • Politician
  • Lawyer
  • Civil Servant

Alison Merrilla Redford KC (born March 7, 1965) is a Canadian lawyer and former politician. She was the 14th premier of Alberta, having served in this capacity from October 7, 2011, to March 23, 2014. Redford was born in Kitimat, British Columbia and grew up all over Canada and overseas before settling in Calgary as a teenager.

In the 2008 provincial election, Redford was elected as the Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for the district of Calgary-Elbow. She served in the cabinet of Ed Stelmach as the Minister of Justice and Attorney General. Redford became premier upon winning the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta, and on April 23, 2012, she led her party to victory in the 2012 provincial election. Redford is the first female premier in the province's history and the eighth woman to serve as a premier in the history of Canada. Of the Alberta premiers with an elected mandate, her term in office was the shortest.

On March 19, 2014, Redford announced that she would resign as premier of Alberta effective March 23, 2014. She was succeeded by deputy premier Dave Hancock on an interim basis. She announced her resignation as an MLA on August 6, 2014.

Early life

Redford was born March 7, 1965, in Kitimat, British Columbia, the daughter of Helen Kay (née Anderson) and Merrill Redford. Her mother was a Scottish immigrant, originally from Glasgow. Redford's family moved to Nova Scotia and Borneo, and to Calgary by the time Redford was 12. She graduated from Bishop Carroll High School, Calgary, and from the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan in 1988.

Throughout the 1990s, Redford worked as a technical adviser on constitutional and legal reform issues in various parts of Africa for the European Union, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Canadian Government and the Government of Australia. Her work in Africa focused on human rights litigation, developing education programs and policy reform with respect to gender issues.

One of Redford's most notable appointments was by the Secretary-General of the United Nations as one of the four International Election Commissioners to administer Afghanistan's first parliamentary elections, held in September 2005. Political issues in the elections program within Alberta at that time were under question by the Elections Commissioner. She also served as an adviser to the Privy Council Office on Canada's future involvement in Afghanistan subsequent to the elections. Her work has included assignments in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Namibia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and the Philippines. Before her most current post, Redford managed a judicial training and legal reform project for the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme People's Court in Vietnam.

Redford is also a past member of the Girl Guides of Canada and was featured in a museum exhibit about prominent Girl Guides at the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery.

Political career

Federal politics

In the 1980s Redford served as Senior Policy Advisor to former Prime Minister Joe Clark, who was the Secretary of State for External Affairs. She went on to work in the Office of the Prime Minister of Canada from 1988 to 1990, under Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. In this capacity, Redford organized a series of national foreign policy consultations facilitating public input on the Government of Canada's White Papers on Foreign Affairs and Defence. In the Canadian Parliament, she was also the Principal Legislative Advisor to the Secretary of State for External Affairs.

In 2004, Redford unsuccessfully challenged Member of Parliament Rob Anders for the federal Conservative nomination in Calgary West.

Provincial politics

On March 13, 2008, after being elected MLA for the constituency of Calgary-Elbow, Redford was named Minister of Justice and Attorney General by Premier Ed Stelmach. In addition, she also served as a member of the Agenda and Priorities Committee, the Treasury Board, and the Cabinet Policy Committee on Public Safety and Services. She resigned from the cabinet in early 2011 to devote herself to her campaign to succeed Stelmach as leader of the governing Progressive Conservative Party.


Party leadership

On February 16, 2011, Redford announced she would be a candidate in the Progressive Conservative Association leadership race to succeed Stelmach, who had announced in January he would resign as leader and premier once his successor was chosen. Redford was largely considered an outsider and had the support of only one MLA in her leadership campaign.

In the first round of voting held on September 18, 2011, Redford placed second behind Gary Mar, the perceived frontrunner and the preferred candidate of caucus, with 19 per cent of the vote compared to 41 per cent for Mar. Redford's supporters included a large percentage of new members who had purchased party memberships solely to support her bid to provide progressive new leadership to a party which had held power in the province since 1971. Redford's promise to reverse the government's $107-million education cut gained the support of teachers and appealed to many Albertans who had lost confidence in the party establishment. With no candidate winning the necessary 50 per cent plus one on the first ballot a second and third round of voting was held on October 2, 2011. After the third round of voting Redford beat Mar, winning 51 per cent of the vote.

Redford was sworn in as Alberta's 14th Premier at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton on October 7, 2011.

2012 election

On March 26, 2012, Redford met with Lieutenant Governor Don Ethell, who dissolved the current legislature and called an election for April 23, 2012. After the election was called, support for the Wildrose Party supposedly surged past Redford's Progressive Conservatives. Throughout the campaign it was thought by some that the Wildrose, led by Danielle Smith, would win a majority government, ending the PC's 40-year reign.

However, on election night, the Progressive Conservatives shocked pollsters and media pundits, by winning a twelfth majority government, taking 61 of the 87 seats in the provincial legislature—a loss of only five seats. The Wildrose Party accused her of pursuing moderate policies to attract Liberal and NDP supporters in an attempt to prevent the right-wing Wildrose Party from gaining a foothold. Wildrose lost momentum in the final weeks of the campaign, due to Smith's defence of two Wildrose candidates who had made controversial remarks. According to the National Post, two of the Wildrose candidates' extreme views, as well as Smith's refusal to condemn them, cost her a chance of unseating Redford. Ultimately, Wildrose failed to get much support in the urban areas, winning only two seats in Calgary and being shut out in Edmonton. With this win, Redford became the fourth woman in Canadian history to lead a political party to victory in an election, after Catherine Callbeck in Prince Edward Island, Pat Duncan in Yukon, and Kathy Dunderdale in Newfoundland and Labrador.

PC Alison Redford
Redford campaigning during the 2012 provincial election

As part of the PC campaign platform, Redford expressed her intentions to work with nonprofits, calling for the creation of a new Department of Human Services as a "single point of entry" for non-profits. Redford promised to build, of which some have now opened, 50 new schools, and renovate 70 more over the next four years.

Post-2012 election Premiership

Fiscal policy

One of Redford's first actions as Premier was to abolish extra pay for committee work by Members of the Legislative Assembly. The issue of committee pay had been contentious during the 2012 election, and news of a so-called "No-Meet Committee" in which MLAs were paid handsomely for little or no actual work had prompted wide public outrage. Another election issue had been "gold-plated pensions" and Redford rejected the advice of a panel of experts to reinstate handsome pensions for MLAs, as well as a suggestion she hike her own salary in excess of $300,000, instead vowing not to take a pension at all. In the wake of public spending scandals involving the Minister for Tourism and senior executives with Alberta Health Services, Redford also instituted new transparency measures and accountability in the form of public disclosure of expense spending. In 2013, after much public discussion following the dismissal of her chief of staff and the refusal to discuss his severance, Redford announced the creation of a "sunshine list" - a public disclosure of salaries and severances for public sector workers in the highest levels of Alberta's public sector.

A year after she resigned her role as Premier, Redford reflected on her tenure in a Globe and Mail interview:

After a long stretch of soul-searching, she was reluctant to identify specific mistakes she made, but did point to a range of other factors contributing to her difficulties, from her gender to back-stabbing in her own caucus.

Education and labour

Some labour unions criticized the first budget, claiming that the Conservative government failed to honour a 2012 provincial election promises to continue increases to post-secondary education at a rate of 2%. Instead the budget was cut by 7.2%. On October 9, 2013, following 900 academic staff and faculty job losses across the province, Thomas Lukazuk, the Minister responsible for Advanced Education, announced $142.5 million had come available to construct a new Engineering building at University of Calgary. This figure was a controversial amount, close to the $147 million needed to reverse cuts 8 months before. The decision was also at odds with the government's written assurances to university administrators on July 3, 2013 that they would advocate to reverse the budget cuts if additional dollars became available: "Look guys, you're not happy, I'm not happy with this budget. But this is the reality ... The moment I have any extra dollars I can access, I'll be the first on my knees before the treasury board advocating for you to get your dollars. But in the meantime, get your financial houses in order," he said.

Bill 45

However, in 2013, the Redford government tabled Bill 45 which increased fines for illegal strikes. Protests against Bill 45 came from the AUPE as well as the United Nurses of Alberta, Health Sciences Association of Alberta and Canadian Union of Provincial Employees-Alberta, representing 85,000 Albertans. Bill 45 imposes severe economic sanctions on provincial workers that strike. Those workers are already forbidden from striking as they are deemed "essential services." On March 20, 2015 it was reported that Bill 45 was being repealed. Premier Jim Prentice, Redford's successor, announced that "I don't agree with the content of the legislation and we will move forward and define essential service legislation that is as respectful of our employees as it is respectful of taxpayers." The AUPE felt that "'one of the most odious remnants of the Redford era' will be gone."

Bill 46

The government also passed Bill 46: Public Service Salary Restraint Act which unilaterally stripped the union of its right to arbitration, a right previously granted by Premier Peter Lougheed. The AUPE launched a legal challenge against Bill 46, and two months later Court of Queen's Bench Justice Denny Thomas granted an indefinite injunction, saying that "the legislation could irreparably harm labour relations, guts the collective bargaining process and effectively emasculates the AUPE." Redford continued to defend the legislation and "reiterated the government's intent to appeal the judge's order." In the words of one observer, "the Redford government felt it was necessary to come down hard on them in order to snuff out any hope of wage increases that might add to the provincial budget deficit." Following Redford's resignation, the AUPE and the Hancock government reached a tentative agreement calling for an immediate $1800 lump sum for salaried employees (prorated for wage earners) and a pay increase of 6.75% to be spread over four years. The compensation deal proposed by the Redford government had been just 2% over four years and an $875 lump sum in 2014/15. The government dropped its appeal against the injunction after the deal with the AUPE was reached.


With Redford advocating for the oil industry and British Columbia premier Christy Clark in opposition, their relationship was described as "rocky." The main area of contention was a trans-provincial pipeline. Controversy and delays in approving the Keystone XL Pipeline focused attention on moving bitumen from Alberta to the west coast. Clark had initially demanded a share of royalties in exchange for granting access to build the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines, prompting a "frosty" response from Redford in October 2012. In November 2013, a framework for a deal was worked out between the two leaders, with Redford's position on royalties remaining unchanged. One analyst remarked that the "public scuffle with British Columbia’s Premier, Christy Clark, over the Northern Gateway pipeline, was a first indication of unproductive handling" of energy issues by Redford's government. There was also an instability of appointments in the energy portfolios (including the removal of Ken Hughes as energy minister and the resignation of Kennedy-Glans as associate minister for electricity and renewable resources).

Fulfilment of mandate

Many of the Redford government's decisions were reversed by career politician Premier Jim Prentice once he assumed office. When the 2014 fall legislative session was prorogued, two controversial bills died on the order paper (the Public Sector Pension Plans Amendment Act (Bill 9) and the Employment Pension (Private Sector) Plans Amendment Act (Bill 10)). The move satisfied the AUPE who had objected to these bills, in concert with Bills 45 and 46. The promise was also made not to re-introduce Bills 9 and 10. The following day, it was announced that Prentice would visit Michener Centre, a long term care center controversially marked for closure by the Redford government. Opposition parties had called on successive governments to keep the centre open. Many of Prentice's first actions in office were seen as an attempt to rehabilitate the Progressive Conservative Party in the eyes of the public. On March 20, 2015 Prentice announced that Bill 45 would be repealed, stating "I don't agree with the content of the legislation."

Post-resignation MLA

Attendance in the legislature

Following her resignation as Premier, Redford did not return to her seat in the Legislature. According to Section 34 of the Legislative Assembly Act. Redford's extended absence caused speculation when no official statement was forthcoming from the interim Premier as to her whereabouts or reasons for not attending. Speculation was heightened further when Redford was spotted in the resort town of Palm Springs, California during her absence. It was later revealed that Redford had, in fact, served official notice to the speaker and that her absence would continue, though "the reason for her excuse is confidential." In declaring her absence to the speaker, Redford ensured she would not be docked pay for non-attendance in the Legislature, whose rules state that a token deduction of $100 a day would be levied for each day missed, after the first 10 consecutive days absent. Redford returned to the legislature on May 5, 2014. In response to a media scrum, she noted that she spent the time off with family in Palm Springs but also worked in her constituency, as her intention was to complete her term as the MLA for Calgary-Elbow. On August 6, 2014, she resigned her seat in the legislature in order to "start the next chapter of my life." In a public statement published in the Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal she recognized "that mistakes were made along the way" and accepted responsibility for her decisions. She added that she and her family will continue to live in Alberta and that she plans to teach as well as resume her work in international development and public policy.

Standing in the party and resignation

Redford returned to the Legislature and the back benches on May 5, 2014. Redford retired from politics on August 6, 2014. Redford's resignation was tendered in the form of a letter published in Edmonton and Calgary newspapers on May 30, 2014.

Independent Ethics Commissioner finds CBC accusations of Conflict of Interest Unfounded

In November 2015, the CBC claimed that an investigation into the process with which Alberta chose a legal consortium for a $10-billion lawsuit against the tobacco industry was "manipulated, allowing former premier Alison Redford the opportunity to select a consortium with close personal and political ties". T On April 3, 2017, Paul Fraser, British Columbia's acting ethics commissioner, concluded that Alison Redford did not break Alberta's Conflict of Interest Act. Fraser noted, "In making the choice of counsel in the tobacco litigation, she used sensible and principled reasoning, based on cogent information she received in the briefing note from government officials and that she had collected in the course of her active tenure as Minister of Justice and Attorney General."

Policy advisor in Afghanistan

In November 2017, Redford took a position as a policy advisor in Kabul to the government of Afghanistan to help reform its Ministry of Mines and Petroleum and help the country develop its natural resources. The position was developed as part of a partnership between the Afghan government and the World Bank. Redford said that her priorities were restoring the power grid and attracting international investment.

Personal life

In July 2015, Redford revealed that following her resignation, she no longer belongs to any political party.

Election results

Alberta general election, 2012: Calgary-Elbow
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Alison Redford 11,198 58.09 +16.01
Wildrose James Cole 5,509 28.58 +21.97
Liberal Beena Ashar 1,067 5.53 −33.67
New Democratic Craig Coolahan 761 3.95 +1.96
Alberta Party Greg Clark 518 2.69
Evergreen William Hamilton 225 1.17 −2.44
Total valid votes 19,278 100.00
Total rejected ballots 257
Turnout 19,535 58.44 +12.60
Eligible voters 33,430
Alberta general election, 2008: Calgary-Elbow
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Alison Redford 6,130 42.08 +3.75
Liberal Craig Cheffins 5,711 39.20 −6.57
Wildrose Alliance Dale Nelson 963 6.61 +2.44
Independent Barry Erskine 948 6.51
Green Jonathon Sheffield 526 3.61 −1.99
New Democratic Garnet Wilcox 290 1.99 −1.31
Total valid votes 14,568 100.00
Total rejected ballots 77
Turnout 14,645 45.84
Eligible voters 31,947
Progressive Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +5.16%


In 2016, Redford's official portrait was unveiled; it has been added to the collection which is permanently displayed in the Alberta Legislature Building.

kids search engine
Alison Redford Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.