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Premier is willing to change, MLA says

Stephen Khan says he spoke to the premier about being more open

By: Stu Salkeld

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 06:00 am

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Premier Alison Redford isn’t going anywhere and is committed to changing her leadership style for the better, says St. Albert MLA Stephen Khan.

Calls for Redford’s resignation or replacement are misguided, Khan said Tuesday in an interview with the St. Albert Gazette.

“Yesterday, I told the premier she has to change,” said Khan, who attended the regularly-scheduled, all-day caucus meeting held at the legislature Monday.

“We’ve spent a lot of time in caucus talking about this stuff. We are looking at change. I’m looking forward to seeing change,” he said.

Khan used as an example the government expenses and transparency regulations and policies that are effective and do good work. He said the premier’s office needs to do a better job of following those rules.

Khan said he’s had some discussions with the premier that were unprecedented in their frankness. Khan said he respects the premier, who is known as a very smart woman who wants to be premier and is listening to the opinions of MLAs in her caucus.

Redford is under intense pressure stemming from scandals such as her $45,000 flight to South Africa along with her initial refusal to repay the expense, then changing her mind and agreeing to pay it back.

On top of that, two MLAs – one an associate minister – have left caucus over the past few days saying they refuse to work with Redford because of her rigid, authoritarian style.

“I also said to the premier, this is a hard business,” said Khan. “These past few weeks, it’s not easy being premier of Alberta. She has listened, and she has been graceful.”

How did Redford handle the request for change?

“She’s a fighter,” said Khan.

Critics such as Steve Robson, a PC association president in the Edmonton area, have called the premier arrogant and called for her resignation, saying the party can’t win the next election with Redford steering the ship. Khan disagrees.

“The PC party itself is a remarkable organization,” said Khan. “There are people who feel very passionately about the PC party.

“Even within our own constituency, there are concerns. What I want to see is, if we have a problem, let’s be honest with ourselves. Let’s have a short-term strategy to fix them.

“Let’s have a long-term strategy and a vision for this province.”

Khan said he is frustrated by some critics who paint a disastrous picture of the current PC government. He said it doesn’t reflect reality.

Khan said Finance Minister Doug Horner recently delivered an excellent budget that helps Alberta grow, that the current government has delivered on promises such as building new schools and improving infrastructure such as Anthony Henday Drive.

“On a macro level, it is hard to say things are bad,” Khan said. “I’m proud of the work I’m able to do for St. Albert.”

Khan also noted he and Horner recently held a fundraising breakfast.

“We had 120 people out to support Minister Horner and myself,” he said.

He acknowledged voters want to know what’s going on in the legislature.

“I just want to say to them we’re doing really well here in St. Albert at a provincial level. That’s what my focus is on.”


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