By Treena Mielke
Alison Redford’s win as Alberta’s new premier has caused quite a stir among politicians and the general public alike, but Ponoka’s MLA has every confidence that the new lady is the right man for the job.
Ray Prins, MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka, was a strong supporter of candidate Gary Mar, but said the membership has spoken and he is willing to go with that decision.
“Card carrying Progressive Conservatives made the decision for this new party leader by their presence and their absence at the polling stations,” he said. ‘Their decision not to come to the polling stations also had an impact on the outcome. The system we use means there can be an unpredictable outcome.”
Prins was disappointed Mar was not successful in his bid for premier, but believes Redford is well qualified and will do an excellent job.
“She ran a great campaign and she won it fair and square,” he said. “I’m sure she will be a very strong leader.”
Prins said he is a team player and he is ready to move forward with the new team with Redford as their leader.
“You can’t look backward,” he said. “You have to move ahead.”
Prins said caucus was to meet Oct. 4 to discuss issues such as when the legislature will reconvene.
“As far as I am aware, the legislature has plans to reconvene on Oct. 24, but we will wait for caucus to make the final decision.”
Prins is confident Redford will stand behind her campaign promise to restore $100 million in education cuts within 10 days of being sworn in as premier.
“There is a process and I’m not sure how that’s going to work, but I’m sure she will carry through with it.”
He expects Redford will be sworn in as premier by the middle of October.
Joe Anglin, Wildrose candidate for the new Sundre-Rocky Mountain House constituency, said he was not surprised by Redford’s win.
“I would like to offer her my congratulations,” he said. “Now we get to see what happens, what kind of policies will be put in place. The ink’s not dry yet.”
Anglin was shocked to hear the legislature may not sit this fall, but doesn’t know if there is any truth to the statement.
“It does have me concerned. She hasn’t met with her own caucus yet.”
He said it is positive to note that Redford has promised to return $100 million to education, but adds there is a process she has to follow. “That money has to come from somewhere.”
A press release from Wildrose House Leader Rob Anderson said Redford, at a press conference on Oct.
2, announced she will cancel the planned fall sitting of the Legislature, scheduled to begin Oct. 25.
“Ms. Redford claims she is all about change, but within 12 hours of being crowned premier, she has announced she is shutting down the Legislature for nine months so she can avoid facing the opposition in the people’s democratically elected House,” Anderson said in the press release.
Redford finished second, trailing candidate Gary Mar and ahead of third-place contender Doug Horner in the Oct. 1 vote for premier. Because Mar did not have a majority of the votes, second choice of voters who supported Horner were counted and Redford had 51.11 per cent of the ballots.
Redford, 46, is married with a nine-year-old daughter. She attended the University of Saskatchewan in the faculty of law and later worked for the United Nations in Afghanistan. She was also a senior policy adviser to former prime minister Joe Clark.